Association Between BMI and Pancreatic Cancer Mortality

Eric J. Jacobs, PhD
Published: Monday, Apr 01, 2019



Eric J. Jacobs, PhD, cancer epidemiologist and strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology, American Cancer Society, discusses results from a prospective cohort study examining the association between BMI and pancreatic cancer mortality.

Those included in the research did not have cancer prior to the start of the study, says Jacobs, which enrolled 967,317 US adults between the ages of 30 and 89 years at enrollment. Results from the trial were presented at the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting and showed that excess body weight, at any age, was associated with increased risk of fatal pancreatic cancer. However, it is important to note that the increase in risk for weight measured in someone’s 30s or 40s was substantially larger than it was in someone who was measured in their 70s or 80s, says Jacobs.

Investigators found that in those who reported their weight when they were in their 30s or 40s, for every 5 units of BMI (about 30 or 35 pounds), there was a 25% increase in risk of pancreatic mortality for the rest of their lives going forward. When investigators looked at those between the ages of 70 and 80, they still saw increased risk, but it was only about half of that, demonstrating a clear trend. These findings mean that it matters when in life excess weight is measured, and excess weight in someone who is in their 30s or 40s could be incredibly important relative to weight gain later in life, concludes Jacobs.

<<< 2019 AACR Annual Meeting


Eric J. Jacobs, PhD, cancer epidemiologist and strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology, American Cancer Society, discusses results from a prospective cohort study examining the association between BMI and pancreatic cancer mortality.

Those included in the research did not have cancer prior to the start of the study, says Jacobs, which enrolled 967,317 US adults between the ages of 30 and 89 years at enrollment. Results from the trial were presented at the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting and showed that excess body weight, at any age, was associated with increased risk of fatal pancreatic cancer. However, it is important to note that the increase in risk for weight measured in someone’s 30s or 40s was substantially larger than it was in someone who was measured in their 70s or 80s, says Jacobs.

Investigators found that in those who reported their weight when they were in their 30s or 40s, for every 5 units of BMI (about 30 or 35 pounds), there was a 25% increase in risk of pancreatic mortality for the rest of their lives going forward. When investigators looked at those between the ages of 70 and 80, they still saw increased risk, but it was only about half of that, demonstrating a clear trend. These findings mean that it matters when in life excess weight is measured, and excess weight in someone who is in their 30s or 40s could be incredibly important relative to weight gain later in life, concludes Jacobs.

<<< 2019 AACR Annual Meeting

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