Obesity has been positively associated with upper gastrointestinal cancers, but prospective data by subtype/subsite are limited. Obesity influences hormonal factors, which may play a role in these cancers. We examined anthropometry, body fat and reproductive factors in relation to oesophageal and gastric cancer by subtype/subsite in the UK Biobank cohort.
Among 458,713 UK Biobank participants, 339 oesophageal adenocarcinomas, 124 oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 137 gastric cardia and 92 gastric non-cardia cancers were diagnosed during a mean of 6.5 years follow-up. Cox models estimated multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Body mass index (BMI), hip circumference, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, total body fat and trunk fat were positively associated with oesophageal adenocarcinoma (highest vs lowest category: HR = 2.33, 95%-CI:1.65-3.28; HR = 1.56, 95%-CI:1.15-2.13; HR = 2.30, 95%-CI:1.47-3.57; HR = 1.71, 95%-CI:1.01-2.90; HR = 2.87, 95%-CI:1.88-4.38; HR = 1.96, 95%-CI:1.30-2.96; HR = 2.34, 95%-CI:1.70-3.22, respectively). Although there were no statistically significant associations in combined sex analyses, BMI (HR = 1.83, 95%-CI:1.00-3.37), waist circumference (HR = 2.21, 95%-CI:1.27-3.84) and waist-to-hip ratio (HR = 1.92, 95%-CI:1.11-3.29) were associated with gastric cardia cancer in men; however, mutual adjustment attenuated the associations for BMI and waist-to-hip ratio. For oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, statistically significant inverse associations were observed among women for BMI, hip circumference, waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, total body fat and trunk fat, although they were based on small numbers. In addition, older age at first (HR = 0.44, 95%-CI:0.22-0.88) and last live birth (HR = 0.44, 95%-CI:0.22-0.87) were inversely associated with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma and having a stillbirth/miscarriage/termination was positively associated (HR = 1.84, 95%-CI:1.10-3.07).
Obesity and abdominal obesity specifically may be a risk factor for oesophageal adenocarcinoma and gastric cardia cancer in men. Some reproductive factors may be associated with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in women.