B4438 - How does adiposity distribution influence risk of obesity-driven cancers Exploring causality and mechanisms - 31/10/2023

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Emma Vincent | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Emma Hazelwood
Title of project: 
How does adiposity distribution influence risk of obesity-driven cancers? – Exploring causality and mechanisms.
Proposal summary: 

Obesity, which is increasing worldwide, is known to increase a person’s risk of many health conditions. The amount of fat tissue that an individual has is often proxied using body mass index (BMI). BMI is cheap to measure and can be an effective measure of overall fat tissue when used at a population level. However, BMI cannot capture the full complexity of the distribution of fat tissue across the body. Recent research has highlighted that fat tissue at different locations throughout the body can have vastly different consequences for heart and blood outcomes, with more central fat tissue having negative consequences and more thigh and buttock fat tissue being beneficial. Whether similar effects of fat tissue distribution are also seen in cancer outcomes, particularly for cancers where there is a known link with obesity, is not yet unknown.
We aim to use ALSPAC data to gain a deeper understanding of the link between fat tissue distribution throughout the body and cancer risk. We will evaluate whether fat tissue distribution affects cancer risk and levels of certain molecular traits measured in blood samples at different ages using the latest statistical methods.
The proposed research will increase our understanding of how fat tissue distribution affects cancer risk. We will also unpick the potential biological mechanisms explaining these relationships and determine at what age the relationships may begin.

Impact of research: 
The direct outcome of our study is a greater understanding of which measures of adiposity are relevant for which obesity-related cancers, the molecular mechanisms that may be underpinning these relationships, and the age at which these relationships can be observed. Beyond contributing to our understanding of the vitally important relationship between adiposity and cancer risk, this study will provide the basis for more tailored obesity treatment recommendations for individuals at increased risk of particular cancers.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 17 October, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 31 October, 2023
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Cancer, Obesity, GWAS, Medical imaging, Proteomics, Statistical methods, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., BMI, Genetic epidemiology, Mendelian randomisation, Metabolic - metabolism, Statistical methods