Adiposity, history of diabetes, and risk of pancreatic cancer in postmenopausal women

Rhonda Arthur, Geoffrey C. Kabat, Mimi Y. Kim, Gloria Y.F. Ho, Rowan T. Chlebowski, Kathy Pan, Thomas E. Rohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the association of type II diabetes and anthropometric variables with risk of pancreatic cancer among postmenopausal women. Methods: Weight, height, waist circumference, and hip circumference were measured by trained personnel, whereas history of diabetes and weight earlier in life were self-reported. Pancreatic cancer was ascertained via central review of medical records by physician adjudicators. After exclusions, 1045 cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed among 156,218 women over a median follow-up of approximately 18 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the associations of study factors with pancreatic cancer risk. Results: Diabetes (hazards ratio (HR): 1.30; 95% confidence intervals (95% CI): 1.01–1.66), and in particular, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ratio showed positive associations with pancreatic cancer risk (HRs for highest vs. lowest level 1.38; 95% CI: 1.14–1.66, 1.40; 1.17–1.68; and 1.36; 1.13–1.64, respectively). Body mass index at the baseline showed only a borderline positive association with risk (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 0.97–1.51). Body mass index at age 50 years, but not at ages 18 and 35 years, was also associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk. Conclusions: In this study of postmenopausal women, central adiposity and, to a lesser extent, general adiposity and a history of diabetes, were associated with increased pancreatic cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29.e1
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Adiposity
  • Body mass index
  • Cohort studies
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Waist circumference
  • Waist-to-hip-ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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