Preventing Endometrial Cancer: Talking with Elisa Bandera

The new AICR/World Cancer Research Fund report on preventing endometrial cancer was published today – the report found obesity, coffee, and activity links to risk. The report analyzed the global research on diet, activity, and weight to the risk of endometrial cancer. Here, Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, the panel lead of this CUP report and an epidemiologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, talks about the report’s findings and what it means.Bandera_Elisa_small

Q: This is the first systematic update of the research on lifestyle and endometrial cancer risk since 2007. Overall, what’s new here?

A: For the update, we now have more prospective data for dietary factors and interesting associations emerged with coffee consumption and glycemic load. Coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk while glycemic load increased risk. There is also growing evidence that longer sitting time increases endometrial cancer risk.

Q: But the research for sitting time – sedentary livingwas not strong enough to make a conclusion.

A: There were only three studies at this time but they all suggested increased risk. We could not be certain based on the limited data that the association was independent of BMI. However, sitting time has been emerging as an important risk factor for other cancers, independent of physical activity. In other words, it is not sufficient to go to the gym three times a week. We have to remember to get up out of our chairs and move and avoid extended period of sittings in front of the television or the computer.

Q: How much more research is there now on endometrial cancer prevention compared to the last report?

A: There are more studies, but particularly more prospective studies evaluating dietary factors, which were lacking in the first report.  Still, only few prospective studies have evaluated some of the dietary exposures and endometrial cancer risk compared to the number of studies that have evaluated them in relation to breast or colorectal cancers.

Q: Why is having prospective data so important?

A: The previous report’s conclusions were based on mainly findings from case-control studies, which are generally considered weaker than cohort or prospective studies. Continue reading