Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 243–258 | Cite as

Physical activity and endometrial cancer risk: a review of the current evidence, biologic mechanisms and the quality of physical activity assessment methods

  • Anne E. Cust
  • Bruce K. Armstrong
  • Christine M. Friedenreich
  • Nadia Slimani
  • Adrian Bauman
Review Article



To (1) determine the nature of the association between physical activity and endometrial cancer risk; (2) assess the contribution of variation in the quality of physical activity measurement to inconsistencies in study results; and (3) review the biologic mechanisms that might mediate possible effects of physical activity on risk.


We reviewed and summarized all published epidemiologic studies examining physical activity and endometrial cancer risk, and evidence relating to possible biologic mechanisms. We assigned each study a quality score for physical activity measurement.


Fourteen of the 18 studies showed a convincing or possible protective effect of physical activity on endometrial cancer risk, with an average relative risk reduction of around 30%. A dose–response relation was observed in 7 of 13 studies. The quality score was not related to the observed strength of association or the presence of a dose–response relation. There was epidemiologic and biologic evidence that vigorous activity, as well as light and moderate intensity activities, such as housework, gardening or walking for transportation, may reduce risk.


Physical activity probably has a protective role in endometrial cancer development. More epidemiologic and biologic evidence is needed to make conclusive recommendations on optimal types, characteristics or time periods of physical activity.


Physical activity Endometrial cancer Quality Measurement Assessment methods 



We are grateful to Marla Orenstein for scoring the studies independently using the quality score criteria.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne E. Cust
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bruce K. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 4
  • Christine M. Friedenreich
    • 5
  • Nadia Slimani
    • 2
  • Adrian Bauman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Nutrition and Hormones UnitInternational Agency for Research on CancerLyon cedex 08France
  3. 3.Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1LyonFrance
  4. 4.Sydney Cancer CentreRoyal Prince Alfred HospitalSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Division of Population Health and InformationAlberta Cancer BoardCalgaryCanada

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