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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Dec;9(12):1335-41.

Body size and prostate cancer: a population-based case-control study in China.

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Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, Maryland 20852-7234, USA.


We conducted a population-based case-control study in China to investigate whether body size plays a role in prostate cancer etiology and whether it can explain the rapid increase in prostate cancer incidence rates in China. A total of 238 cases newly diagnosed with primary prostate cancer in Shanghai, China, during 1993-1995 were included in the study. Four hundred and seventy-one healthy control subjects were randomly selected from among residents of Shanghai and frequency-matched to cases on the basis of age. In-person interviews were conducted to elicit information on height, weight history, and other lifestyle factors. Waist and hip circumferences were measured at interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were used to measure the association between prostate cancer and anthropometric variables including height, weight, body mass index (BMI), waist, hip, and right upper arm circumferences, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR; an indicator of abdominal adiposity). High levels of WHR were related to an excess risk, with men in the highest quartile (WHR > 0.92) having an almost 3-fold risk (OR, 2.71; 95% CI = 1.66-4.41; Ptrend = 0.0001) compared with men in the lowest quartile (WHR < 0.86). In contrast, men in the highest quartile of hip circumference (>97.4 cm) had a reduced risk (OR, 0.46; 95% CI = 0.29-0.74; Ptrend = 0.0002) relative to men in the lowest quartile (<86 cm). No association was found for height, usual adult weight, or preadult and usual adult BMI. Our results suggest that even in a very lean population (average BMI = 21.9), abdominal adiposity may be associated with an increased risk of clinical prostate cancer, pointing to a role of hormones in prostate cancer etiology. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in prospective studies, especially in Western populations where abdominal obesity is much more common, and to clarify the underlying hormonal mechanisms involved.

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