Comparison Of Anthropometric Measurements Of Adiposity In Relation To Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review Of Prospective Studies

Amy MULLEE, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
DE RIDDER J. 2 , JULIÁN-ALMÁRCEGUI C. 1,3 , RINALDI S. 4 , VAN HERCK K. 2 , VICENTE-RODRÍGUEZ G. 3,5 , HUYBRECHTS I. 1

1 Dietary Exposure Assessment Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France

Purpose:
In epidemiology, the relationship between increased adiposity and cancer risk has long been recognized. However, whether the association is the same for measures of abdominal or whole body adiposity is unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to compare cancer risk, associated with body mass index (BMI), an indicator of whole body adiposity, with indicators of abdominal adiposity in studies in which these indicators have been directly measured.
Methods:
We conducted a systematic search from 1974 (EMBASE) and 1988 (PubMed) to September 2015 with keywords related to adiposity and cancer. Included studies were limited to cohort studies reporting directly measured anthropometry and performing mutual adjustment.
Results:
Thirteen articles were identified, two on breast cancer, three on colorectal cancer, three on endometrial cancer, two on gastro-oesophageal cancer, two on renal cancer, one on ovarian cancer, one on bladder cancer, one on liver and biliary tract cancer and one on leukaemia. Evidence suggests that abdominal adiposity is a stronger predictor than whole body adiposity for gastro-oesophageal, leukaemia and liver and biliary tract cancer in men and women and for renal cancer in women. Abdominal adiposity was a stronger predictor for bladder and colorectal cancer in women, while only BMI was a predictor in men. In contrast, BMI appears to be a stronger predictor for ovarian cancer. For breast and endometrial cancer, both measures were predictors for cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
Conclusions:
Few studies used mutually adjusted and measured anthropometric indicators when studying adiposity–cancer associations. Further research investigating cancer risk and adiposity should include more accurate non-invasive indicators of body fat deposition and focus on the understudied cancer types.
 
Funding source:

Contribution of AM was undertaken during an IARC-Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, supported by the Irish Cancer Society. JDR was funded by the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci programme (2012-LDV-PLM-214).