Mendelian randomisation analysis provides no evidence for a relationship between adult height and testicular cancer risk.
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Observational studies have suggested anthropometric traits, particularly increased height are associated with an elevated risk of testicular cancer (testicular germ cell tumour). However, there is an inconsistency between study findings, suggesting the possibility of the influence of confounding factors. To examine the association between anthropometric traits and testicular germ cell tumour using an unbiased approach, we performed a Mendelian randomisation study. We used genotype data from genome wide association studies of testicular germ cell tumour totalling 5518 cases and 19,055 controls. Externally weighted polygenic risk scores were created and used to evaluate associations with testicular germ cell tumour risk per one standard deviation (s.d) increase in genetically-defined adult height, adult BMI, adult waist hip ratio adjusted for BMI (WHRadjBMI), adult hip circumference adjusted for BMI (HIPadjBMI), adult waist circumference adjusted for BMI (WCadjBMI), birth weight (BW) and childhood obesity. Mendelian randomisation analysis did not demonstrate an association between any anthropometric trait and testicular germ cell tumour risk. In particular, despite good power, there was no global evidence for association between height and testicular germ cell tumour. However, three SNPs for adult height individually showed association with testicular germ cell tumour (rs4624820: OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.41-1.55, p = 2.7 × 10-57 ; rs12228415: OR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11-1.22, p = 3.1 × 10-10 ; rs7568069: OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.07-1.18, p = 1.1 × 10-6 ). This Mendelian randomisation analysis, based on the largest testicular germ cell tumour genome wide association dataset to date, does not support a causal etiological association between anthropometric traits and testicular germ cell tumour aetiology. Our findings are more compatible with confounding by shared environmental factors, possibly related to prenatal growth with exposure to these risk factors occurring in utero.
Version of record
genome-wide association studies
germ cell tumour
Body Mass Index
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
Molecular & Population Genetics
Clinical Academic Radiotherapy (Huddart)
License start date
Andrology, 2017, 5 (5), pp. 914 - 922