Linkage of nationwide databases in Sweden allowed us to evaluate the incidence of ovarian cancer among 36,856 women diagnosed with alcoholism between 1965 and 1994. Mean duration of follow-up was 9.6 years, for a total of 317,518 person-years at risk. The expected number of cases of ovarian cancer was calculated by multiplying the number of person-years by 5-year age group and calendar year-specific incidence rates of ovarian cancer in Sweden. The effect measure was the standardized incidence ratio (SIR), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Our results indicate an overall deficit of cases of ovarian cancer of about 14% among women with a diagnosis of alcoholism. This deficit is particularly strong and statistically significant among alcoholic women younger than 60 years (SIR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.58-1.00). This deficit is compatible with the reported reduction of gonadotrophin levels among alcoholic women younger than 60 years and with the hypothesis invoking these gonadotrophins in the etiology of ovarian cancer.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.