Childhood height, adult height, and the risk of prostate cancer

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PURPOSE: We previously showed that childhood height is positively associated with prostate cancer risk. It is, however, unknown whether childhood height exerts its effects independently of or through adult height. We investigated whether and to what extent childhood height has a direct effect on the risk of prostate cancer apart from adult height.

METHODS: We included 5,871 men with height measured at ages 7 and 13 years in the Copenhagen School Health Records Register who also had adult (50-65 years) height measured in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study. Prostate cancer status was obtained through linkage to the Danish Cancer Registry. Direct and total effects of childhood height on prostate cancer risk were estimated from Cox regressions.

RESULTS: From 1996 to 2012, 429 prostate cancers occurred. Child and adult heights were positively and significantly associated with prostate cancer risk. When adjusted for adult height, height at age 7 years was no longer significantly associated with the risk of prostate cancer. Height at 13 years was significantly and positively associated with prostate cancer risk even when adult height was adjusted for; per height z-score the hazard ratio was 1.15 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.32].

CONCLUSIONS: The effect of height at 13 years on the risk of prostate cancer was not entirely mediated through adult height, suggesting that child height and adult height may be associated with prostate cancer through different pathways.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Causes & Control
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)561-567
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

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