The Influence of Sedentary Behavior on Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Potential Molecular Mechanisms
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Purpose of Review
Sedentary behavior is an emerging risk factor for several cancers. Here, we review the current epidemiologic evidence on sedentary behavior and cancer risk and summarize potential underlying molecular mechanisms.
High compared to low sedentary behavior is associated with a 28–44% increased risk of colon cancer, a 8–17% increased risk of breast cancer, and a 28–36% increased risk of endometrial cancer. For other cancer sites, the current evidence is insufficient, mainly due to sparse numbers of available studies. Potential underlying biologic mechanisms linking prolonged sedentary behavior to increased cancer risk include metabolic dysfunction, alterations in circulating levels of sex hormones, and low-grade systemic chronic inflammation.
Prolonged sedentary behavior is positively related to cancers of the colon, breast, and endometrium. For other cancer types, the current evidence is inconclusive. Underlying biological mechanisms are poorly understood and need to be an integral part of future research.
KeywordsSedentary behavior Sitting Cancer Risk factor Lifestyle Adiposity
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Carmen Jochem, Birgit Wallmann-Sperlich, and Michael F. Leitzmann declare they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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