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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Feb;14(2):459-66.

Obesity, recreational physical activity, and risk of pancreatic cancer in a large U.S. Cohort.

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Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, National Home Office, 1599 Clifton Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30329-4251, USA.



Obesity and physical activity, in part through their effects on insulin sensitivity, may be modifiable risk factors for pancreatic cancer.


The authors analyzed data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort to examine the association between measures of adiposity, recreational physical activity, and pancreatic cancer risk. Information on current weight and weight at age 18, location of weight gain, and recreational physical activity were obtained at baseline in 1992 via a self-administered questionnaire for 145,627 men and women who were cancer-free at enrollment. During the 7 years of follow-up, 242 incident pancreatic cancer cases were identified among these participants. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to compute hazard rate ratios (RR) and to adjust for potential confounding factors including personal history of diabetes and smoking.


We observed an increased risk of pancreatic cancer among obese [body mass index (BMI) >/= 30] men and women compared with men and women of normal BMI [<25; RR, 2.08; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.48-2.93, P(trend) = 0.0001]. After adjustment for between BMI, risk of pancreatic cancer was independently increased among men and women who reported a tendency for central weight gain compared with men and women reporting a tendency for peripheral weight gain (RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.02-2.07). We observed no difference in pancreatic cancer incidence rates between men and women who were most active (>31.5 metabolic equivalent hours per week) at baseline compared with men and women who reported no recreational physical activity (RR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.63-2.27).


This study, along with several recent studies, supports the hypothesis that obesity and central adiposity are associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

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