HealthDay News — Molecular traits may mediate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and endometrial cancer risk, according to a study published online April 19 in BMC Medicine.

Emma Hazelwood, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used Mendelian randomization (MR) to evaluate the causal role of 14 molecular risk factors in endometrial cancer risk using data from 12,906 cases and 108,979 controls. The potential mediating role of these molecular traits in the link between BMI and endometrial cancer was evaluated and quantified using multivariable MR.

The researchers observed strong evidence for a causal effect on endometrial cancer risk for BMI (odds ratio [OR] per standard deviation increase, 1.88), total testosterone (OR per inverse normal transformed nmol/L increase, 1.64), bioavailable testosterone (OR per natural log transformed nmol/L increase, 1.46), fasting insulin (OR per natural log transformed pmol/L increase, 3.93), and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) (OR per inverse normal transformed nmol/L increase, 0.71). In addition, suggestive evidence indicated that total serum cholesterol had an effect on endometrial cancer risk. Evidence for a mediating role was observed for fasting insulin, bioavailable testosterone, and SHBG in the link between BMI and endometrial cancer risk (19, 15, and 7% total effect mediated, respectively).

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“We look forward to further research exploring how we can now use this information to help reduce the risk of cancer in people struggling with obesity,” Hazelwood said in a statement.

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