Odds ratios for head and neck cancer increase with greater cigarette and alcohol use and lower body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height2 (m2)). Using data from the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium, the authors conducted a formal analysis of BMI as a modifier of smoking-and alcohol-related effects. Analysis of never and current smokers included 6,333 cases, while analysis of never drinkers and consumers of ≤10 drinks/day included 8,452 cases. There were 8,000 or more controls, depending on the analysis. Odds ratios for all sites increased with lower BMI, greater smoking, and greater drinking. In polytomous regression, odds ratios for BMI (P = 0.65), smoking (P = 0.52), and drinking (P = 0.73) were homogeneous for oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers. Odds ratios for BMI and drinking were greater for oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer (P < 0.01), while smoking odds ratios were greater for laryngeal cancer (P < 0.01). Lower BMI enhanced smoking-and drinking-related odds ratios for oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer (P < 0.01), while BMI did not modify smoking and drinking odds ratios for laryngeal cancer.
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