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Leisure time sedentary behaviour and risks of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer: A Mendelian randomization analysis

Sedentary behaviours have been associated with increased risks of some common cancers in epidemiological studies; however, it is unclear if these associations are causal. We examined potential causal associations between self-reported leisure television watching and computer use and risks of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer using a two-sample Mendelian randomization framework. Genetic variants were identified from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS). Cancer data were obtained from cancer GWAS consortia. Additional sensitivity analyses were applied to examine the robustness of the results. A 1-standard deviation increment in hours of television watching increased risk of breast (OR: 1.15, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05,1.26) and colorectal cancer (OR: 1.32, 95%CI: 1.16,1.49) with little evidence of an association for prostate cancer risk. In multivariable models adjusted for years of education, the effect estimates for television watching were attenuated (breast cancer, OR: 1.08, 95%CI: 0.92,1.27; colorectal cancer, OR: 1.08, 95%CI: 0.90,1.31). Post-hoc analyses showed that years of education might have a possible confounding and mediating role in the association between television watching with breast and colorectal cancer. Consistent results were observed by sex (colorectal cancer), anatomical subsites, and cancer subtypes. There was little evidence of associations between computer use and cancer risk. We found evidence of positive associations between hours of television watching and risks of breast and colorectal cancer. However, these findings should be interpreted cautiously given the complex role of education. Future studies using objective measures of exposure can provide new insights into the possible role of sedentary behaviour in cancer development. Evidence from observational studies that examined associations between sedentary behaviours and common cancers is mixed and causality is uncertain. In our Mendelian randomization analyses, higher levels of leisure television watching were found to increase the risks of breast and colorectal cancer, suggesting that the that the promotion of lowering sedentary behaviour time could be an effective strategy in the primary prevention of these commonly diagnosed cancers. Cancer Epidemiology.

Authors: Papadimitriou, Nikos; Sakoda, Lori C; Murphy, Neil; et al.

medRxiv. 2023 Mar 22.

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