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Acta Oncol. 2012 Apr;51(4):454-64. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2011.636754. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Use of dairy products, lactose, and calcium and risk of ovarian cancer - results from a Danish case-control study.

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Institute of Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark.



A number of epidemiological studies have examined the association between use of dairy products and risk of ovarian cancer, but results are conflicting. Using data from a large Danish population-based case-control study we here further examined the association between dairy consumption, lactose, and calcium and risk of overall ovarian cancer and histological types of ovarian cancer.


In the period 1995-1999 we included 554 women with epithelial ovarian cancer and 1554 randomly selected age-matched controls (35-79 years). All women participated in a detailed personal interview that included questions about dairy consumption. Data were analysed using multiple logistic regression models.


Total dairy intake was associated with ovarian cancer risk (OR = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.07-1.15 per 100 ml/day). The association was strongest for milk [OR = 1.14; 95% CI: 1.03-1.27 per glass (200 ml)/day], soured milk products [OR = 1.49; 95% CI: 1.22-1.81 per portion (250 ml)/day] and yoghurt [OR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.22-2.23 per portion (250 ml)/day]. In contrast, intake of cheese was associated with a decreased risk [OR = 0.70; 95% CI: 0.55-0.89 for > 1 portion (100 ml)/day compared with no intake]. Intake of lactose, but not calcium, was also associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk (OR = 1.24; 95% CI: 1.10-1.40 per 10 g of lactose/day). Similar risk patterns were observed for the different histological types of ovarian cancer, indicating virtually identical aetiologies with regard to dairy intake, lactose, and calcium.


Our results indicate that intake of dairy products is associated with a modest increased risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, ovarian cancer development was associated with lactose intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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