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Body size in relation to incidence of subtypes of haematological malignancy in the prospective Million Women Study.

Murphy F, Kroll ME, Pirie K, Reeves G, Green J, Beral V; for the Million Women Study Collaborators.

Br J Cancer 2013;108:2390-8.


Greater adiposity and height have been associated with increased risk of haematological malignancies. Associations for disease subtypes are uncertain.


A cohort of 1.3 million middle-aged UK women was recruited in 1996-2001 and followed for 10 years on average. Potential risk factors were assessed by questionnaire. Death, emigration, and incident cancer were ascertained by linkage to national registers. Adjusted relative risks were estimated by Cox regression.


During follow-up, 9162 participants were diagnosed with lymphatic or haematopoietic cancers. Each 10 kg m(-2) increase in body mass index was associated with relative risk of 1.20 (95% confidence interval: 1.13-1.28) for lymphoid and 1.37 (1.22-1.53) for myeloid malignancy (P=0.06 for heterogeneity); similarly, Hodgkin lymphoma 1.64 (1.21-2.21), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 1.36 (1.17-1.58), plasma cell neoplasms 1.21 (1.06-1.39), acute myeloid leukaemia 1.47 (1.19-1.81), and myeloproliferative/myelodysplastic syndromes 1.32 (1.15-1.52). Each 10 cm increase in height was associated with relative risk of 1.21 (1.16-1.27) for lymphoid and 1.11 (1.02-1.21) for myeloid malignancy (P=0.07 for heterogeneity); similarly, mature T-cell malignancies 1.36 (1.03-1.79), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma 1.28 (1.14-1.43), follicular lymphoma 1.28 (1.13-1.44), plasma cell neoplasms 1.12 (1.01-1.24), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma 1.23 (1.08-1.40), and acute myeloid leukaemia 1.22 (1.04-1.42). There was no significant heterogeneity between subtypes.


In middle-aged women, greater body mass index and height were associated with modestly increased risks of many subtypes of haematological malignancy.