Tallness May Be Protective Against Esophageal Cancer

Dr. Aaron P. Thrift PhD Public Health Sciences Division Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA.MedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Dr. Aaron P. Thrift PhD
Public Health Sciences Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA.


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Thrift: We conclude that height is inversely associated with risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, both in men and women. The association is not due to confounding from known risk factors or bias.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Thrift: Greater attained height has been previously linked with increased risk of cancer (e.g., particularly colorectal, prostate and breast cancers). Most surprising about the results was that greater height was associated with lower risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma and its precursor, Barrett’s esophagus.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Thrift: While height isn’t modifiable, the identification of a risk factor such as height will hopefully allow us to create more sophisticated and accurate methods to quantify patient risk, which will hopefully be used in the future for patient risk stratification.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Thrift: It is unclear how height may influence risk of these conditions. Future studies investigating the etiology of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma should consider the role or height and height-associated biological risk factor.

Citation:

Thrift, A. P., Risk of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Decreases With Height, Based on Consortium Analysis and Confirmed by Mendelian Randomization. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2014: 12(10): 1667-1676.e1