Pooled cohort study on height and risk of cancer and cancer death

Sara Wiren, Christel Haggstrom, Hanno Ulmer, Jonas Manjer, Tone Bjorge, Gabriele Nagel, Dorthe Johansen, Goran Hallmans, Anders Engeland, Hans Concin, Hakan Jonsson, Randi Selmer, Steinar Tretli, Tanja Stocks, Par Stattin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (SciVal)


To assess the association between height and risk of cancer and cancer death. The metabolic syndrome and cancer project is a prospective pooled cohort study of 585,928 participants from seven cohorts in Austria, Norway, and Sweden. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for cancer incidence and death were estimated in height categories and per 5-cm increment for each cancer site using Cox proportional hazards model. During a mean follow-up of 12.7 years (SD = 7.2), 38,862 participants were diagnosed with cancer and 13,547 participants died of cancer. Increased height (per 5-cm increment) was associated with an increased overall cancer risk in women, HR 1.07 (95 % CI 1.06-1.09), and in men, HR 1.04 (95 % CI 1.03-1.06). The highest HR was seen for malignant melanoma in women, HR 1.17 (95 % CI 1.11-1.24), and in men HR 1.12 (95 % CI 1.08-1.19). Height was also associated with increased risk of cancer death in women, HR 1.03 (95 % CI 1.01-1.16), and in men, HR 1.03 (95 % CI 1.01-1.05). The highest HR was observed for breast cancer death in postmenopausal women (> 60 years), HR 1.10 (95 % CI 1.00-1.21), and death from renal cell carcinoma in men, HR 1.18 (95 % CI 1.07-1.30). All these associations were independent of body mass index. Height was associated with risk of cancer and cancer death indicating that factors related to height such as hormonal and genetic factors stimulate both cancer development and progression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Body stature
  • Body height
  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer risk
  • Cohort study


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