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Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Oct 15;156(8):693-701.

Association of galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase activity and N314D genotype with the risk of ovarian cancer.

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Epidemiology Section, Cancer Etiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu 96813, USA.


Deficiency in the galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GALT) enzyme results in accumulation of galactose and its metabolites in the ovary (Am J Epidemiol 1989;130:904-10). Galactose may raise gonadotropin levels, resulting in proliferation of ovarian epithelium. In 1993-1999, the authors conducted a population-based case-control study of ovarian cancer in Hawaii and Los Angeles, California, to examine the hypothesis that reduced GALT activity is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. A total of 239 ovarian cancer cases and 244 population controls were interviewed. A blood sample was collected to measure levels of GALT and to assay for the N314D (A940G) polymorphism of the GALT gene. Covariate-adjusted mean GALT activity was similar between cases (23.8 micro mol per hour/g hemoglobin (Hb)) and controls (23.7 micro mol per hour/g Hb) (p = 0.83). No evidence was found for a dose-response relation between the odds ratios for ovarian cancer and GALT activity or the ratio of lactose intake to GALT activity. The risk associated with the presence of at least one variant Asp314 allele was 0.77 (95% confidence interval: 0.42, 1.41). This study did not support the hypothesis that reduced galactose metabolism is a risk factor for ovarian cancer, although increased GALT activity attenuated the inverse association of oral contraceptive pill use with risk.

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