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Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Mar 1;157(5):424-33.

Height, weight, weight change, and ovarian cancer risk in the Netherlands cohort study on diet and cancer.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, NUTRIM, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


Although many studies have been conducted to investigate the relation between anthropometry and the risk of ovarian cancer, their results have been inconsistent. The Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer was initiated in 1986. A self-administered questionnaire on dietary habits and other risk factors for cancer was completed by 62,573 women. Follow-up for cancer was implemented by annual record linkages with the Netherlands Cancer Registry. After 7.3 years of follow-up, 172 incident cases of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer were available for analysis. Multivariate analysis yielded a rate ratio of ovarian cancer for women with adult height of more than 175 cm, compared with those with height of less than or equal to 160 cm, of 2.17 (95% confidence interval: 1.14, 4.13; p trend = 0.01). The rate ratio for women with a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m(2) was 1.69 (95% confidence interval: 1.00, 2.86), compared with women with a Quetelet index of less than 25 kg/m(2), with p trend = 0.06. Rate ratios for weight and body mass index at age 20 years were nonsignificantly increased in the intermediate categories. These data support a positive association between height (and to a lesser extent body mass) and ovarian cancer risk in this population of postmenopausal women.

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