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Cancer Causes Control. 2001 Nov;12(9):855-63.

Body size and ovarian cancer: case-control study and systematic review (Australia).

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Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Herston, Australia.



Although increased body mass is an established risk factor for a variety of cancers, its relation with cancer of the ovary is unclear. We therefore investigated the association between measures of body mass index (BMI) and ovarian cancer risk.


Data from an Australian case-control study of 775 ovarian cancer cases and 846 controls were used to examine the association with BMI. We have also summarized the results from a number of other studies that have examined this association.


There was a significant increased risk of ovarian cancer with increasing BMI, with women in the top 15% of the BMI range having an odds ratio (OR) of 1.9 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3-2.6) compared with those in the middle 30%. Stratifying by physical activity showed a stronger effect among inactive women (OR = 3.0, 95% CI 1.3-6.9). The overall effect was consistent with the findings of most prior population-based case-control studies, while cohort studies reported positive effects closer to the null. Hospital-based studies gave variable results.


Taken together, the evidence is in favor of a small to moderate positive relation between high BMI and occurrence of ovarian cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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