Diet and benign ovarian tumors (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2000 May;11(5):389-401. doi: 10.1023/a:1008921710400.


Objectives: The relation between benign ovarian tumors (BOTs) and nutrients, primarily dietary fat, was examined using case-control data.

Methods: 746 cases were diagnosed from 1 January 1992 to 31 December 1993. The 404 age- and hospital frequency-matched community controls were identified by random digit dialing. Six hundred seventy-three cases and 351 controls provided dietary information.

Results: The risk of BOTs was elevated for the highest vs. lowest quartile of intake of total, vegetable, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat. The corresponding age-, hospital-, total energy-, and body mass index-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) are 1.3 (0.9-1.9), 1.7 (1.2-2.5), 1.2 (0.8-1.8), 1.3 (0.9-1.8), and 1.6 (1.1-2.3). After adjustment for polyunsaturated fat, the risk of BOTs only remained elevated for vegetable fat (highest vs. lowest quartile OR and 95% CI = 1.4 (0.8-2.3)). Elevated risks were observed for higher intakes of polyunsaturated fat with endometrioid, serous, and teratoma tumors. Higher intakes of vegetable fat, adjusted for polyunsaturated fat, increased the risk of endometrioid, mucinous, and serous tumors. Only the risk of serous BOTs was consistently lower for higher intakes of micronutrients, with the strongest reduction observed for sources of vitamin A. Estimates were not confounded by non-nutrient covariates.

Conclusions: Polyunsaturated and vegetable fat may increase the risk of BOTs, while vitamin A may lower the risk of serous BOTs; however, these findings and lack of associations for other nutrients should be replicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Ovarian Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated