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Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Feb;25(2):151-9. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0317-7. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Pooled cohort study on height and risk of cancer and cancer death.

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Department of Surgery and Perioperative Sciences, Urology and Andrology, Umeå University, 901 87, Umeå, Sweden,



To assess the association between height and risk of cancer and cancer death.


The metabolic syndrome and cancer project is a prospective pooled cohort study of 585,928 participants from seven cohorts in Austria, Norway, and Sweden. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for cancer incidence and death were estimated in height categories and per 5-cm increment for each cancer site using Cox proportional hazards model.


During a mean follow-up of 12.7 years (SD = 7.2), 38,862 participants were diagnosed with cancer and 13,547 participants died of cancer. Increased height (per 5-cm increment) was associated with an increased overall cancer risk in women, HR 1.07 (95 % CI 1.06-1.09), and in men, HR 1.04 (95 % CI 1.03-1.06). The highest HR was seen for malignant melanoma in women, HR 1.17 (95 % CI 1.11-1.24), and in men HR 1.12 (95 % CI 1.08-1.19). Height was also associated with increased risk of cancer death in women, HR 1.03 (95 % CI 1.01-1.16), and in men, HR 1.03 (95 % CI 1.01-1.05). The highest HR was observed for breast cancer death in postmenopausal women (>60 years), HR 1.10 (95 % CI 1.00-1.21), and death from renal cell carcinoma in men, HR 1.18 (95 % CI 1.07-1.30). All these associations were independent of body mass index.


Height was associated with risk of cancer and cancer death indicating that factors related to height such as hormonal and genetic factors stimulate both cancer development and progression.

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