The ABACus Study

University of Manchester Campus

Study Title: Adulthood BMI trajectories And Cancer using Clusters (ABACus)

Principle Investigator: Professor Andrew Renehan




Elevated body mass index (BMI) and weight gain are risk factors for adult cancer but have limited utilisation as public health strategies for cancer prevention. Life-course epidemiology, through the global capture of adiposity exposure over time (for example, BMI trajectories) and subsequent occurrence of cancer, is potentially more relevant for cancer prevention as it offers a strategy to ‘target’ divergent early adverse trajectories.

The ABACus project focuses on deriving BMI trajectories using latent class models in a multi-cohort consortium and the subsequent association with cancer incidence. As this is a relatively novel methodology in cancer epidemiology, part of this work has been on standardising the development and selection of latent class models, in addition to the generalisability of these models between cohorts.

Prevention and Early Detection

Prevention and early detection is about combating cancer before the disease becomes too difficult to treat. Prevention is about understanding the causes of cancer, assessing cancer risk where possible and mitigating against the risks. Early detection relies on the ability to identify cancer in its infancy or in a pre-cancerous state, before the disease has spread and while it is still relatively easy to treat.

Research Themes

Discover the cross-cutting research themes supported by the MCRC.