Background:

The influence of anthropometric characteristics on colorectal neoplasia biology is unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine if adult-attained height is independently associated with the risk of colorectal cancer or adenoma.

Methods:

We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and Web of Science from inception to August 2020 for studies on the association between adult-attained height and colorectal cancer or adenoma. The original data from the Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD) Colon Biofilm study was also included. The overall HR/OR of colorectal cancer/adenoma with increased height was estimated using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results:

We included 47 observational studies involving 280,644 colorectal cancer and 14,139 colorectal adenoma cases. Thirty-three studies reported data for colorectal cancer incidence per 10-cm increase in height; 19 yielded an HR of 1.14 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–1.17; P < 0.001), and 14 engendered an OR of 1.09 (95% CI, 1.05–1.13; P < 0.001). Twenty-six studies compared colorectal cancer incidence between individuals within the highest versus the lowest height percentile; 19 indicated an HR of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.19–1.30; P < 0.001), and seven resulting in an OR of 1.07 (95% CI, 0.92–1.25; P = 0.39). Four studies reported data for assessing colorectal adenoma incidence per 10-cm increase in height, showing an overall OR of 1.06 (95% CI, 1.00–1.12; P = 0.03).

Conclusions:

Greater adult attained height is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma.

Impact:

Height should be considered as a risk factor for colorectal cancer screening.

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