Relationship between anthropometric factors, radiation exposure, and colon cancer incidence in the Life Span Study cohort of atomic bomb survivors
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We examined colon cancer risk in atomic bomb survivors to investigate whether excess body weight after the bombings alters sensitivity to radiation effects.
Of the 56,064 Japanese atomic bomb survivors with follow-up through 2002 with self-reported anthropometric data obtained from periodic mail surveys, 1,142 were diagnosed with colon cancer. We evaluated the influence of body mass index (BMI) and height on radiation-associated colon cancer risk using Poisson regression.
We observed a similar linear dose–response relationship for the 56,064 subjects included in our analysis and the entire cohort of Japanese atomic bomb survivors [excess relative risk (ERR) per Gray (Gy) = 0.53, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.25–0.86]. Elevation in earliest reported BMI, BMI reported closest to colon cancer diagnosis, and time-varying BMI were associated with an elevated risk of colon cancer [relative risk (RR) per 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI = 1.14, 95 % CI 1.03–1.26; RR = 1.16, 95 % CI 1.05–1.27; and RR = 1.15, 95 % CI 1.04–1.27, respectively]. Height was not significantly related to colon cancer risk. Inclusion of anthropometric variables in models had little impact on radiation risk estimates, and there was no evidence that sensitivity to the effect of radiation on colon cancer risk depended on BMI.
Radiation exposure and BMI are both risk factors for colon cancer. BMI at various times after exposure to the atomic bombings does not significantly influence the relationship between radiation dose and colon cancer risk, suggesting that BMI and radiation impact colon cancer risk independently of each other.
KeywordsBody mass index Radiation exposure Colon cancer Atomic bomb survivors
The authors thank Kiyohiko Mabuchi for his thoughtful comments in the preparation of this manuscript. They are grateful for the contributions of the atomic bomb survivors who have contributed to this study. The Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, is a private, non-profit foundation funded by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). EOS, KJK, EG, RWM, SD, and CIL received support through DOE award DE-HS0000031 to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the two governments.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
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