Body composition and risk of obesity-related cancers
A better understanding of how body composition affects cancer risk is needed to optimise the recommendations to the general public on body size and cancer.
Topic:Combination of cancers
Institution:Danish Cancer Society Research Center
Grant title: Body composition and risk of obesity-related cancers
The relationship between body composition and cancer has been under-studied. So we are delighted that the World Cancer Research Fund supports our research giving us the possibility to look more into how the fat mass and the fat free mass components of BMI influence the risk of obesity-related cancers while also taking into account aspects of metabolism to increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms. – Ms Lene Mellemkjær
Overweight and obesity is becoming more and more common in many parts of the world. Excess body fatness is known to increase the risk of 15 cancer types. Assessment of body fat is usually based on BMI, however, this measure is not ideal as two individuals with the same BMI may have different lean and fat masses. The impact of these more precise measures on cancer risk have rarely been studied in contrast to the large number of studies concerning BMI and cancer. Surprisingly, there are some findings in the scientific literature to suggest that not only fat mass influences cancer risk but also lean mass seems to matter.
Aims and objectives
To investigate how fat mass and lean mass influence the risk of cancer.
How will it be done
Approximately 57,000 and 40,000 individuals have been enrolled in 2 Danish cohort studies. When they were enrolled into the studies, their body size was measured, and they filled in questionnaires on lifestyle factors and other exposures relevant to cancer.
We will follow these people for cancer using data from the Danish Cancer Registry and calculate the risk of cancer according to whether they have high versus low levels of fat mass and lean mass while avoiding that known risk factors for cancer affect the results.
Ultimately, a better understanding of how body composition affects cancer risk is needed to optimise the recommendations to the general public on body size and cancer.