Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Comparison of anthropometric measures as predictors of cancer incidence: a pooled collaborative analysis of 11 Australian cohorts

journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-01, 00:00 authored by J L Harding, J E Shaw, K J Anstey, R Adams, B Balkau, Sharon Brennan-OlsenSharon Brennan-Olsen, T Briffa, T M Davis, W A Davis, A Dobson, L Flicker, G Giles, J Grant, Rachel HuxleyRachel Huxley, M Knuiman, M Luszcz, R J MacInnis, P Mitchell, Julie PascoJulie Pasco, C Reid, D Simmons, L Simons, A Tonkin, M Woodward, Anna PeetersAnna Peeters, D J Magliano
Obesity is a risk factor for cancer. However, it is not known if general adiposity, as measured by body mass index (BMI) or central adiposity [e.g., waist circumference (WC)] have stronger associations with cancer, or which anthropometric measure best predicts cancer risk. We included 79,458 men and women from the Australian and New Zealand Diabetes and Cancer Collaboration with complete data on anthropometry [BMI, WC, Hip Circumference (HC), WHR, waist to height ratio (WtHR), A Body Shape Index (ABSI)], linked to the Australian Cancer Database. Cox proportional hazards models assessed the association between each anthropometric marker, per standard deviation and the risk of overall, colorectal, post-menopausal (PM) breast, prostate and obesity-related cancers. We assessed the discriminative ability of models using Harrell's c-statistic. All anthropometric markers were associated with overall, colorectal and obesity-related cancers. BMI, WC and HC were associated with PM breast cancer and no significant associations were seen for prostate cancer. Strongest associations were observed for WC across all outcomes, excluding PM breast cancer for which HC was strongest. WC had greater discrimination compared to BMI for overall and colorectal cancer in men and women with c-statistics ranging from 0.70 to 0.71. We show all anthropometric measures are associated with the overall, colorectal, PM breast and obesity-related cancer in men and women, but not prostate cancer. WC discriminated marginally better than BMI. However, all anthropometric measures were similarly moderately predictive of cancer risk. We do not recommend one anthropometric marker over another for assessing an individuals' risk of cancer.



International journal of cancer






1699 - 1708




Weinheim, Germany







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Wiley