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Adolescent Weight May Affect Adult Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Pancreatic cancer cells. Credit: Min Yu. Source: NCI

A new study has found a link between obesity during adolescence and increased risk of pancreatic cancer during adulthood.

Zohar Levi, MD, of Rabin Medical Center and Tel Aviv University, and colleagues examined Israeli data from 1,087,358 men and 707,212 women who underwent a mandatory physical examination between the ages of 16 and 19 during the years 1967 to 2002. The researchers then used the Israeli National Cancer Registry to identify which of these individuals developed pancreatic cancer through December 31, 2012.

During the follow-up period, which had a median of 23 years, 551 of the individuals in the cohort developed pancreatic cancer, including 423 men and 128 women. Men with an adolescent body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile were 3.67 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer during the time of the study than were those whose BMI ranged from the 5th to 84th percentile, and women with an adolescent BMI at or above the 95th percentile were 4.07 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Among men, those with a high-normal adolescent BMI (75th to 84th percentile) and those who were overweight as youth (85th to 95th percentile) had pancreatic cancer risks that were 1.49 and 1.97 times higher, respectively, compared with men who had a low-normal adolescent BMI (5th to 24th percentile).

The researchers estimated that 10.9% of all pancreatic cancer cases were linked to increased weight or obesity.

For More Information

Levi Z, Rottenberg Y, Twig G, et al (2018). Adolescent overweight and obesity and the risk for pancreatic cancer among men and women: a nationwide study of 1.79 million Israeli adolescents. Cancer. [Epub ahead of print] DOI:10.1002/cncr.31764

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