In a multicenter case-control study that included 403 cases and 297 controls, we examined the relation of past and contemporary body size, including body fat distribution, to the risk of endometrial cancer. The relative contributions of past and contemporary body size were assessed by examining weight and height histories provided by the subjects. Anthropometric indicators thought to reflect early environmental influences (e.g., height and sitting height), current weight, and fat distribution patterns were measured directly. Height was not a risk factor for endometrial cancer, but inexplicably, sitting height was inversely associated with risk. Weight during early adulthood appeared to be directly related to disease risk, but the association was explained by contemporary weight and thus weight gain during adulthood. While contemporary weight was associated with risk of endometrial cancer, the effect was restricted to those in the top quartile. Women whose measured weight at interview exceeded 78 kg had 2.3 times the risk of those weighing less than 58 kg (95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.7). Upper-body obesity (waist-to-thigh circumference ratio) was a risk factor independent of body weight. After adjustment for weight, the relative risks of endometrial cancer across increasing quartiles of upper-body obesity were 1.0, 1.5, 1.8, and 2.6 (P for trend < 0.001). These data indicate that both obesity and the distribution of adipose tissue accumulated during adult life increase endometrial cancer risk substantially.

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