Nav: Home

Risk of esophageal cancer decreases with height

September 25, 2014

Bethesda, MD (Sept. 25, 2014) -- Taller individuals are less likely to develop esophageal cancer and it's precursor, Barrett's esophagus, according to a new study1 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

"Individuals in the lowest quartile of height (under 5'7" for men and 5'2" for women) were roughly twice as likely as individuals in the highest quartile of height (taller than 6' for men and 5'5" for women) to have Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer," said Aaron P. Thrift, PhD, lead study author from the Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA. "Interestingly, the relationship between height and esophageal cancer is opposite from many other cancers -- including colorectal, prostate and breast -- where greater height is associated with an increased risk."

Researchers conducted a large pooled analysis using data from 14 population-based epidemiologic studies within the International Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON), including 1,000 cases of esophageal cancer and twice as many cases of Barrett's esophagus, and twice as many controls. The researchers conducted multiple analyses, including using Mendelian randomization (which incorporates genetic information with traditional approaches) to overcome issues of confounding and bias. The results from all analyses consistently demonstrated an inverse association between height and Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer. There were no differences in these estimates based on sex, age, education, smoking, GERD symptoms or body mass index. Adjusting for abdominal obesity yielded similar results.

"The identification of risk factors, such as height, will allow us to create more sophisticated and accurate methods to quantify patient risk, which will hopefully be used in the future to decide who should undergo endoscopic screening for these conditions," added Dr. Thrift.

The researchers report no obvious explanation for the association between short height and Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer. Future studies investigating the potential causal mechanisms by which risk for Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer might be influenced by height are justified.

Esophageal cancer incidence increased eight-fold in the U.S. from 1973 to 2008. Almost all cases arise from Barrett's esophagus. Learn more about the management of Barrett's esophagus in the American Gastroenterological Association medical position statement.
-end-
This work was primarily funded by NIH grant R01CA136725.

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.

About Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The mission of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is to provide readers with a broad spectrum of themes in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. This monthly peer-reviewed journal includes original articles as well as scholarly reviews, with the goal that all articles published will be immediately relevant to the practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. For more information, visit http://www.cghjournal.org.

Like AGA and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology on Facebook.
Join AGA on LinkedIn.
Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn.
Check out our videos on YouTube.

1 Thrift, A. P., Risk of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Decreases With Height, Based on Consortium Analysis and Confirmed by Mendelian Randomization. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2014: 12(10): 1667-1676.e1

American Gastroenterological Association

Related Esophageal Cancer Articles:

Treatment improved overall survival in elderly patients with early-stage esophageal cancer
Elderly patients with early-stage esophageal cancer that received treatment had an increased 5-year overall survival when compared to patients who received observation with no treatment.
Keck School of Medicine of USC receives grant for esophageal cancer research
The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has been awarded a grant from the DeGregorio Family Foundation and Price Family Foundation to support research aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of how gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Easier diagnosis of esophageal cancer
The Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging at Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen is heading the 'Hybrid optical and optoacoustic endoscope for esophageal tracking' (ESOTRAC) research project, in which engineers and physicians together develop a novel hybrid endoscopic instrument for early diagnosis and staging of esophageal cancer.
Study sheds light on esophageal cancer, offers insight into increasingly common disease
A comprehensive analysis of 559 esophageal and gastric cancer samples, collected from patients around the world, suggests the two main types of esophageal cancer differ markedly in their molecular characteristics and should be considered separate diseases.
Oral bacterium related esophageal cancer prognosis in Japanese patients
A type of bacterium usually found in the human mouth, Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum), has been found to be related to the prognosis of esophageal cancer in Japanese patients by researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan.
More Esophageal Cancer News and Esophageal Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...