Association between greater leg length and increased incidence of colorectal cancer: the atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

Guillaume Onyeaghala, Pamela L. Lutsey, Ellen W. Demerath, Aaron R. Folsom, Corinne E. Joshu, Elizabeth A. Platz, Anna E. Prizment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Previous studies have reported that taller people have an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). We examined the association of two height components—leg length and sitting height—with CRC risk in 14,532 individuals aged 45–64 years in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Methods: Anthropometrics were measured at baseline (1987–1989). Incident CRC cases (n = 382) were ascertained from 1987 to 2012. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for CRC and colon cancer across quintiles of sex-specific leg length and sitting height. Results: The highest (versus the lowest) quintile of leg length was associated with a 36% greater CRC risk (p-trend = 0.04), and 51% greater colon cancer risk (p-trend = 0.01). For the top four quintiles combined, risk was increased by 34% for CRC and by 45% for colon cancer versus the lowest quintile. Total height and sitting height were not significantly associated with CRC or colon cancer risk. A small number of cases (n = 57) limited our ability to conduct subgroup analyses for rectal cancer. Conclusions: A positive association of leg length with CRC and colon cancer risk suggests that biological mechanisms leading to greater leg length during puberty may explain the association between taller height and CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-797
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions. Cancer incidence data have been provided by the Maryland Cancer Registry, Center for Cancer Surveillance and Control, Maryland Department of Health, 201 W. Preston Street, Room 400, Baltimore, MD 21201. We acknowledge the State of Maryland, the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) for the funds that helped support the availability of the cancer registry data.

Funding Information:
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract nos. (HHSN268201700001I, HHSN268201700003I, HHSN268201700005I, HHSN268201700004I, HHSN268201700002I). Studies on cancer in ARIC are also supported by the National Cancer Institute U01CA164975.

Funding Information:
The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions. Cancer incidence data have been provided by the Maryland Cancer Registry, Center for Cancer Surveillance and Control, Maryland Department of Health, 201 W. Preston Street, Room 400, Baltimore, MD 21201. We acknowledge the State of Maryland, the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) for the funds that helped support the availability of the cancer registry data.

Keywords

  • ARIC
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Leg length
  • Prospective cohort
  • Risk

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