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Taller Height May Increase Risk for Colorectal Cancer

Overall, tallest individuals appear to have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer versus the shortest

WEDNESDAY, March 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Taller height should be considered a risk factor for colorectal cancer or adenoma, according to a study published online March 11 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Elinor Zhou, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to identify studies examining whether adult-attained height is associated with the risk of colorectal cancer or adenoma.

The researchers identified 47 observational studies (280,644 colorectal cancer and 14,139 colorectal adenoma cases). Overall, 19 studies yielded a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.14 for colorectal cancer incidence per 10-cm increase in height, and 14 studies generated an odds ratio (OR) of 1.09. When examining colorectal cancer incidence between individuals within the highest versus the lowest height percentile, 19 studies had a combined HR of 1.24, and seven studies resulted in an OR of 1.07. Among the four studies with data assessing colorectal adenoma incidence per 10-cm increase in height, there was a trend toward increased risk (OR, 1.06).

“One possible reason for this link is that adult height correlates with body organ size,” Zhou said in a statement. “More active proliferation in organs of taller people could increase the possibility of mutations leading to malignant transformation.”

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