How are obesity and cancer related?


Obesity and cardiovascular disease each raise the risk of cancer, but when combined the cancer risk is up to 50% greater than the sum of the individual associations, according to an individual participant data meta-analysis of two prospective cohort studies, the UK Biobank (UKB) and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC).

EPIC participants were from 10 European countries, and UK Biobank participants were from England, Scotland, and Wales.

The purpose of the meta-analysis was to evaluate the joint association of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and cardiometabolic disease (vs without cardiometabolic disease) in relation to cancer risk.

A total of 577,343 adults free of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease were followed for 10.9 years to identify incident cancer risk.

Findings suggest that obesity prevention when obesity and cardiovascular disease co-occur may yield greater cancer risk reduction than that achieved with the general population.