Body Size at Different Ages and Risk of 6 Cancers: A Mendelian Randomization and Prospective Cohort Study

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2022 Sep 9;114(9):1296-1300. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac061.


It is unclear if body weight in early life affects cancer risk independently of adult body weight. To investigate this question for 6 obesity-related cancers, we performed univariable and multivariable analyses using 1) Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis and 2) longitudinal analyses in prospective cohorts. Both the MR and longitudinal analyses indicated that larger early life body size was associated with higher risk of endometrial (odds ratioMR = 1.61, 95% confidence interval = 1.23 to 2.11) and kidney (odds ratioMR = 1.40, 95% confidence interval = 1.09 to 1.80) cancer. These associations were attenuated after accounting for adult body size in both the MR and cohort analyses. Early life body mass index (BMI) was not consistently associated with the other investigated cancers. The lack of clear independent risk associations suggests that early life BMI influences endometrial and kidney cancer risk mainly through pathways that are common with adult BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Cohort Studies
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Mendelian Randomization Analysis*
  • Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Prospective Studies