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Childhood body mass index is associated with risk of adult colon cancer in men: An association modulated by pubertal change in body mass index

Journal article
Authors Jimmy Celind
Claes Ohlsson
Maria Bygdell
Maria Nethander
Jenny Kindblom
Published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume 28
Issue 5
Pages 974-979
ISSN 1055-9965
Publication year 2019
Published at Core Facilities, Bioinformatics
Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 974-979
Language - English
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology


- Background: The relative contribution of childhood and pubertal body mass index (BMI) for the risk of adult colorectal cancer is not known. The aim of this study was to evaluate the independent associations for childhood BMI and pubertal BMI change with risk of colorectal cancer in men. Methods: We included 37,663 men born in 1946 to 1961 who had weight and height measured at 8 (childhood) and 20 (young adult age) years of age available from the BMI Epidemiology Study. Information on colorectal cancer was retrieved from the Swedish National Patient Register (257 cases of colon cancer and 159 cases of rectal cancer). Results: Childhood BMI at 8 years of age [HR, 1.19 per SD increase; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06–1.33], but not pubertal BMI change (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.90–1.15), was associated with increased risk of colon cancer. Due to a significant interaction between childhood BMI and pubertal BMI change (P < 0.001), we stratified the analyses according to the median of pubertal BMI change. Childhood BMI was associated with risk of colon cancer in individuals with a pubertal BMI change above, but not below, the median (above: HR ¼ 1.48, 95% CI, 1.26–1.74; below: HR ¼ 0.95, 95% CI, 0.80–1.12). Neither childhood BMI nor pubertal BMI change was associated with rectal cancer. Conclusions: High childhood BMI was associated with increased risk of colon cancer only if it was followed by a pubertal BMI increase above the median. Impact: Further studies should evaluate prepubertal childhood BMI in relation to pubertal BMI change and BMI in middle age for the risk of colon cancer. © 2019 American Association for Cancer Research.

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