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Ann Oncol. 2012 Jun;23(6):1593-600. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr494. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Large body size and sedentary lifestyle during childhood and early adulthood and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a high-risk population.

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  • 1Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. arash.etemadi@nih.gov



Little is known about the association of obesity and physical activity at young ages with subsequent risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).


Between 2003 and 2007, we conducted a case-control study in a high-risk population in northeastern Iran. Three hundred ESCC cases and 571 matched controls were recruited. Each individual was shown a standard pictogram, to report body size at ages 15 and 30. Demographic and health-related information, including physical activity at these ages was also collected.


In the fully adjusted models, very obese body size (last two pictograms) at age 15 [odds ratio (OR) 3.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-7.7] and age 30 (OR 3.1; 95% CI 1.1-8.5) were associated with ESCC in women, but not in men. Sedentary work at age 15 (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.3-8.3) and 30 (OR 18.2, 95% CI 3.9-86.2) were also associated with ESCC risk in women only. The increased risk in women at age 15 remained high after later reduction in body size, while women who became very obese only at age 30 did not show a significantly increased risk.


These results highlight the importance of early lifestyle modifications in the context of cancer prevention, particularly in women.

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