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Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jun;22(6):899-908. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9763-2. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Height at diagnosis and birth-weight as risk factors for osteosarcoma.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. mirabellol@mail.nih.gov



Osteosarcoma typically occurs during puberty. Studies of the association between height and/or birth-weight and osteosarcoma are conflicting. Therefore, we conducted a large pooled analysis of height and birth-weight in osteosarcoma.


Patient data from seven studies of height and three of birth-weight were obtained, resulting in 1,067 cases with height and 434 cases with birth-weight data. We compared cases to the 2000 US National Center for Health Statistics Growth Charts by simulating 1,000 age- and gender-matched controls per case. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between height or birth-weight and risk of osteosarcoma for each study were estimated using logistic regression. All of the case data were combined for an aggregate analysis.


Compared to average birth-weight subjects (2,665-4,045 g), individuals with high birth-weight (≥ 4,046 g) had an increased osteosarcoma risk (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.01-1.79). Taller than average (51st - 89th percentile) and very tall individuals (≥ 90th percentile) had an increased risk of osteosarcoma (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.18-1.54 and OR 2.60, 95% CI 2.19-3.07, respectively; P (trend) < 0.0001).


This is the largest analysis of height at diagnosis and birth-weight in relation to osteosarcoma. It suggests that rapid bone growth during puberty and in utero contributes to OS etiology.

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