Physical activity and risks of breast and colorectal cancer: a Mendelian randomisation analysis

Nikos Papadimitriou, Niki Dimou, Konstantinos K. Tsilidis, Barbara Banbury, Richard M. Martin, Sarah J. Lewis, Nabila Kazmi, Timothy M. Robinson, Demetrius Albanes, Krasimira Aleksandrova, Sonja I. Berndt, D. Timothy Bishop, Hermann Brenner, Daniel D. Buchanan, Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Peter T. Campbell, Sergi Castellví-Bel, Andrew T. Chan, Jenny Chang-Claude, Merete Ellingjord-DaleJane C. Figueiredo, Steven J. Gallinger, Graham G. Giles, Edward Giovannucci, Stephen B. Gruber, Andrea Gsur, Jochen Hampe, Heather Hampel, Sophia Harlid, Tabitha A. Harrison, Michael Hoffmeister, John L. Hopper, Li Hsu, José María Huerta, Jeroen R. Huyghe, Mark A. Jenkins, Temitope O. Keku, Tilman Kühn, Carlo La Vecchia, Loic Le Marchand, Christopher I. Li, Li Li, Annika Lindblom, Noralane M. Lindor, Brigid Lynch, Sanford D. Markowitz, Giovanna Masala, Anne M. May, Roger Milne, Evelyn Monninkhof, Lorena Moreno, Victor Moreno, Polly A. Newcomb, Kenneth Offit, Vittorio Perduca, Paul D.P. Pharoah, Elizabeth A. Platz, John D. Potter, Gad Rennert, Elio Riboli, Maria Jose Sánchez, Stephanie L. Schmit, Robert E. Schoen, Gianluca Severi, Sabina Sieri, Martha L. Slattery, Mingyang Song, Catherine M. Tangen, Stephen N. Thibodeau, Ruth C. Travis, Antonia Trichopoulou, Cornelia M. Ulrich, Franzel J.B. van Duijnhoven, Bethany Van Guelpen, Pavel Vodicka, Emily White, Alicja Wolk, Michael O. Woods, Anna H. Wu, Ulrike Peters, Marc J. Gunter, Neil Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Physical activity has been associated with lower risks of breast and colorectal cancer in epidemiological studies; however, it is unknown if these associations are causal or confounded. In two-sample Mendelian randomisation analyses, using summary genetic data from the UK Biobank and GWA consortia, we found that a one standard deviation increment in average acceleration was associated with lower risks of breast cancer (odds ratio [OR]: 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27 to 0.98, P-value = 0.04) and colorectal cancer (OR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.90, P-value = 0.01). We found similar magnitude inverse associations for estrogen positive (ER+ve) breast cancer and for colon cancer. Our results support a potentially causal relationship between higher physical activity levels and lower risks of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Based on these data, the promotion of physical activity is probably an effective strategy in the primary prevention of these commonly diagnosed cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number597
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity and risks of breast and colorectal cancer: a Mendelian randomisation analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this