11 Cancer Types Have Strong Connection to Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology IRDB - Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr. Kyrgiou

Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG
Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology
IRDB – Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Obesity has become a major public health challenge and it’s prevalence worldwide has more than doubled amongst women n the last four decadesExcess body weight has been associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from numerous cancers. Although the reported associations may be potentially causal, some of the associations may be flawed due to inherent study biases such as residual confounding and selective reporting of positive results.

We included 204 meta-analyses investigating associations between adiposity and the development or death from 36 primary cancers and their sub-types. Adiposity was associated with a higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia, colon and rectal cancer in men, biliary tract system, pancreatic, postmenopausal breast among HRT non-users, endometrial, ovarian, and kidney cancer and multiple myeloma.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The findings suggest that only 11 cancers were deemed to have strong evidence of association with obesity without hints of bias, predominantly comprising of digestive organ tumours or hormonally-driven female malignancies. Other associations can as well be genuine, but there is at least some uncertainty about them.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future prospective studies and large consortia with better assessment of the time-varying nature of body fatness and comprehensive standardised reporting of analyses are needed to draw firmer conclusions. The identification of the true factors associated with obesity may allow better selection high-risk that would benefit from targeted prevention strategies 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This work was supported by Genesis Research Trust; Sigrid Jusélius Fellowship; World Cancer Research Fund International

Regular Grant Programme; Ovarian Cancer Action; Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust NIHR BRC.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Adiposity and cancer at major anatomical sites: umbrella review of the literature
BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j477 (Published 28 February 2017)Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j477

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Last Updated on March 1, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD