Individuals with high body mass index (BMI), increased waist circumference, and Type 2 diabetes may be at an increased risk of developing liver cancer, a study has found.
The findings showed that for every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, there was a 38 and 25 per cent increase in the risk for liver cancer in men and women, respectively.
For every 5 cm increase in waist circumference, the increase in risk for liver cancer was 8 per cent.
Participants with Type 2 diabetes mellitus were 2.61 times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer, and the risk increases with increase in BMI, the researchers said.
“Liver cancer isn’t simply related to excess alcohol intake and viral hepatitis infection. We found that each of these three factors was associated, robustly, with liver cancer risk. All three relate to metabolic dysfunction,” said Peter Campbell, researcher at the American Cancer Society.
The study adds substantial support to liver cancer being on the list of obesity-associated cancers.
Thus, “this is yet another reason to maintain a body weight in the ‘normal’ range for your height”, Campbell said.
The results are also consistent with other data indicating that obesity and diabetes might be playing a role in the rapid increase in liver cancer in recent decades, he added.
For the study, the team pooled data from 1.57 million adults enrolled in 14 different US-based prospective studies.
At enrolment, participants completed questionnaires related to their height, weight, alcohol intake, tobacco use, and other factors potentially related to cancer risk. None of them had cancer at enrolment.
The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.