Adult height and head and neck cancer: a pooled analysis within the INHANCE Consortium

Emanuele Leoncini, Walter Ricciardi, Gabriella Cadoni, Dario Arzani, Livia Petrelli, Gaetano Paludetti, Paul Brennan, Daniele Luce, Isabelle Stucker, Keitaro Matsuo, Renato Talamini, Carlo La Vecchia, Andrew F Olshan, Deborah M Winn, Rolando Herrero, Silvia Franceschi, Xavier Castellsague, Joshua Muscat, Hal Morgenstern, Zuo-Feng ZhangFabio Levi, Luigino Dal Maso, Karl Kelsey, Michael McClean, Thomas L Vaughan, Philip Lazarus, Mark P Purdue, Richard B Hayes, Chu Chen, Stephen M Schwartz, Oxana Shangina, Sergio Koifman, Wolfgang Ahrens, Elena Matos, Pagona Lagiou, Jolanta Lissowska, Neonila Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Leticia Fernandez, Ana Menezes, Antonio Agudo, Alexander W Daudt, Lorenzo Richiardi, Kristina Kjaerheim, Dana Mates, Jaroslav Betka, Guo-Pei Yu, Stimson Schantz, Lorenzo Simonato, Hermann Brenner, David I Conway, Tatiana MacFarlane, Peter Thomson, Eleonora Fabianova, Ariana Znaor, Peter Rudnai, Claire Healy, Paolo Boffetta, Shu-Chun Chuang, Yuan-Chin Amy Lee, Mia Hashibe, Stefania Boccia

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Several epidemiological studies have shown a positive association between adult height and cancer incidence. The only study conducted among women on mouth and pharynx cancer risk, however, reported an inverse association. This study aims to investigate the association between height and the risk of head and neck cancer (HNC) within a large international consortium of HNC. We analyzed pooled individual-level data from 24 case-control studies participating in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated separately for men and women for associations between height and HNC risk. Educational level, tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption were included in all regression models. Stratified analyses by HNC subsites were performed. This project included 17,666 cases and 28,198 controls. We found an inverse association between height and HNC (adjusted OR per 10 cm height = 0.91, 95% CI 0.86-0.95 for men; adjusted OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.79-0.93 for women). In men, the estimated OR did vary by educational level, smoking status, geographic area, and control source. No differences by subsites were detected. Adult height is inversely associated with HNC risk. As height can be considered a marker of childhood illness and low energy intake, the inverse association is consistent with prior studies showing that HNC occur more frequently among deprived individuals. Further studies designed to elucidate the mechanism of such association would be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Early online date24 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Height
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Overweight
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Height
  • Consortium


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