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Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Nov;25(11):1427-37. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0434-y. Epub 2014 Sep 20.

Associations between time spent sitting and cancer-related biomarkers in postmenopausal women: an exploration of effect modifiers.

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Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA.



Despite evidence that prolonged periods of sitting may influence biological mediators of cancer development, few studies have considered these relationships in a cancer-specific context.


This cross-sectional study included 755 postmenopausal women enrolled in an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Plasma levels of Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), IGF-binding protein-3, leptin, insulin, C-peptide, C-reactive protein (CRP), and Interleukin (IL)-6 were measured. The time spent sitting per day was categorized as quartiles (Qs). The relationships between sedentary time and biomarkers were modified by race, physical activity, and exogenous estrogen use.


IGF-I levels among African American (AA) women were higher than those of white women across the Qs of sedentary time. Likewise, IL-6 levels in AA women were higher than those in white women at Q3 and Q4 of sedentary time. IGFBP-3 levels were higher and insulin levels were lower across the Qs of sedentary time among women meeting guidelines for physical activity than women who were not. Additionally, CRP levels were higher among estrogen users than nonusers at Q1, Q2, and Q4 of sedentary time.


These results suggest that relationship between time spent sitting and cancer-related biomarkers may not be simply linear, but differ in the context of effect modifiers.

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