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19-09-2017 | Oncology | News | Article

ESMO 2017 in brief

Abdominal fat linked to elevated cancer risk

medwireNews: Central obesity is associated with an increased incidence of cancer in postmenopausal women, according to research presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid, Spain.

The link between obesity and cancer risk is known, study author Line Mærsk Staunstrup (Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark) explained in a poster session, but her team’s findings suggest that the presence of abdominal fat, rather than bodyweight, could be the key driver of cancer development.

Among 5858 female participants (average age 71 years) of the Prospective Epidemiologic Risk Factor study who underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at intake and were followed up for 12 years, central obesity, as indicated by a high ratio of abdominal to peripheral fat, was significantly associated with cancer incidence, with a hazard ratio of 1.34 after adjustment for confounders such as age and smoking status.

By contrast, neither body mass index, nor whole-body fat percentage had a significant association with cancer incidence.

Staunstrup commented in a press release: “The average elderly woman can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area.

“Therefore, elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age.”

By Shreeya Nanda

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