Body mass index and height in relation to brain tumor risk in a Japanese population

Ann Epidemiol. 2020 Nov:51:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.06.001. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


Purpose: Although height and body mass index (BMI) are reported to be positively associated with several common cancers, evidence regarding their association with brain tumor risk remains sparse, particularly in Asian populations. In this study, we analyzed the association between height and BMI and brain tumor risk in a Japanese population using a large population-based prospective cohort study.

Methods: A total of 102,925 participants (48,213 men and 54,712 women) enrolled in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study were followed from baseline, namely 1990 for cohort I and 1993 for cohort II, until 2012. Information on participants' dietary and lifestyle habits, including height and body weight, was collected through survey questionnaires administered at baseline. We used the Cox proportional hazards regression model to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for brain tumor incidence, with adjustment for potential confounding variables.

Results: During an average follow-up of 18.1 years, 157 (70 men and 87 women) cases of brain tumor were newly diagnosed. BMI showed a statistically insignificant positive association with the risk of brain tumor. In addition, statistically significant positive trends were seen for men and meningioma, with multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for a BMI of 27.5 to less than 40 versus 18.5 to less than 23 kg per m2 of 2.14 (95% CI = 0.99-4.59) (P = 0.03) and 1.98 (95% CI = 0.84-4.67) (P = 0.046), respectively. In contrast, height showed no clear association with brain tumor risk, overall or in subgroup analysis.

Conclusions: Compared with a BMI of 18 to less than 23.5 kg per m2, a higher BMI was associated with higher risk of brain tumor, particularly in men and with meningioma.

Keywords: Body mass index; Brain tumor; Height; JPHC study; Japanese; Prospective study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Brain Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors