Long-term overweight and weight gain in early adulthood in association with risk of endometrial cancer

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Abstract

Long-term overweight and substantial weight gain over adulthood are known risk factors of endometrial cancer, but the timing of weight gain in relation to risk and the effect of weight change on age at diagnosis remain unclear. A population-based case–control study was conducted to evaluate the long-term effect of body weight on endometrial cancer risk. The study enrolled 668 incident cases and 674 population controls. Anthropometric features in each decade of adult life were ascertained through in-person interview and analyzed for their associations with endometrial cancer using unconditional logistic regression. As expected, high body mass index (BMI) was significantly associated with increased risk. Women who were overweight or obese at the time of interview had adjusted odds ratios of 1.54 (95%CI 1.13–2.10) and 4.76 (95%CI 3.50–6.49), respectively, compared to women of normal weight. Similar associations were observed for BMI assessed at each decade of adult life. More importantly, women who were overweight (BMI ≥ 25) in their 20s or 30s and maintained the overweight throughout life had significantly higher risk than those who became overweight at ages 40s or 50s. Women with substantial weight gain (≥35%) in early adulthood (age 20s) developed the disease 10 years earlier than those without such weight change in early life. These observations further confirm the critical link between body weight and development of endometrial cancer.

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