IARC identifies eight additional cancer sites linked to overweight and obesity

Lyon, France, 25 August 2016 – A new evaluation carried out by the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention programme has concluded that overweight/obesity is a risk factor for more cancer sites than previously established. Based on a systematic review of the published scientific literature, the Working Group for IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention Volume 16: Body Fatness provided the latest evaluation of the cancer-preventive effects of the absence of excess body fatness. A summary of the results is published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. (ref: new engl j med 375;8 nejm.org August 25, 2016)

A Working Group of 21 independent international experts, convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), assessed more than 1000 studies, including intervention trials, cohort and case–control studies, studies in experimental animals, and studies on the mechanisms linking excess body fatness and cancer.

“This comprehensive evaluation reinforces the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight in order to reduce the risk of several different types of cancer,” says Dr Béatrice Lauby-Secretan, lead author of the new article.

Link between overweight/obesity and cancer

The experts confirmed the previous evaluation of the IARC Handbooks (Volume 6, published in 2002) that the absence of excess body fatness reduces the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, oesophagus (adenocarcinoma), kidney (renal cell carcinoma), breast in postmenopausal women, and endometrium of the uterus.

In addition, the review of the available literature for middle-aged adults showed that there is sufficient evidence in humans that the absence of excess body fatness reduces the risk of cancers of the

  • gastric cardia, (stomach)
  • liver,
  • gallbladder,
  • pancreas,
  • ovary,
  • thyroid,
  • meningioma,
  • multiple myeloma.

There is also limited evidence that the absence of excess body fatness reduces the risk of fatal cancer of the

  • prostate,
  • cancer of the breast in men,
  • and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The Working Group also reviewed data pertaining to body fatness in children, adolescents, and young adults (aged up to 25 years) to assess whether obesity at earlier periods of life is linked with cancer in adult life. For several cancer sites, including the colon and the liver, associations between excess body weight and cancers were observed that were similar to those reported in adults.

25 August 2016

IARC identifies eight additional cancer sites linked to overweight and obesity

It is well established that overweight in experimental animals increases the incidence of several types of cancer. Studies in overweight animals showed that caloric or dietary restriction reduces the risk of cancers of the mammary gland, colon, liver, pancreas, skin, and pituitary gland.

 

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