Visceral fat accumulation is associated with colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women

Jee Yon Lee, Hye Sun Lee, Duk Chul Lee, Sang Hui Chu, Justin Y. Jeon, Nam Kyu Kim, Ji Won Lee

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Obesity is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC), and emerging data suggest that this association is mediated by visceral fat rather than total body fat. However, there is a lack of studies evaluating the association between visceral fat area and the prevalence of CRC.

Methods: To investigate the relationship between visceral adiposity and prevalence of CRC, data of 497 women diagnosed with CRC and 318 apparently healthy women were analysed and data of well-balanced 191 pairs of women with CRC and healthy women matched based on propensity scores were additionally analysed. Diagnosis of CRC was confirmed by colonoscopy and histology. Metabolic parameters were assessed, along with body composition, using computed tomography.

Results: The median visceral fat area was significantly higher in the CRC group compared with the control group before and after matching. The prevalence of CRC increased significantly with increasing visceral fat tertiles after matching (p for trend ,0.01). A multivariate analysis showed that mean visceral fat area of individuals in the 67th percentile or greater group was associated with an increased prevalence of CRC (adjusted odds ratio: 1.80; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-2.91 before matching and adjusted odds ratio: 2.96; 95% confidence interval: 1.38-6.33) compared with that of individuals in the 33th percentile or lower group.

Conclusion: Thus, we conclude that visceral fat area is positively associated with the prevalence of CRC. Although we could not determine the causality, visceral adiposity may be associated with the risk of CRC. Further prospective studies are required to determine the benefits of controlling visceral obesity for reducing CRC risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere110587
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 17

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Lee et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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