A population-based case-control study of carotenoid and vitamin A intake and ovarian cancer (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2001 Jan;12(1):83-90. doi: 10.1023/a:1008985015927.


Objective: To evaluate the association between dietary intake of carotenoids and vitamin A and the incidence of ovarian cancer.

Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study of ovarian cancer in Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Incident cases diagnosed between 1991 and 1994 were identified through statewide tumor registries. We selected community controls at random from lists of licensed drivers and Medicare recipients; 327 cases and 3129 controls were included in the analysis. Data were collected by telephone interview, which included an abbreviated food and supplement list to quantify typical consumption of carotenoids (lutein/zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene), retinol and total vitamin A at 5 years prior to diagnosis in cases, or to a comparable reference date in controls. Results were adjusted for age, state, and other risk factors.

Results: Participants with the highest dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin (> or =24,000 microg/week) experienced a 40% lower risk of ovarian cancer (95% CI = 0.36-0.99) compared to those with the lowest intake. Intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, retinol and total vitamin A was unrelated to risk. Among foods, we observed non-significantly lower risks with high consumption of spinach, carrots, skim/lowfat milk and liver.

Conclusion: These results support previous findings suggesting an inverse relationship between carotenoid intake and ovarian cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / analysis
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Population Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin A / analysis*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene / analogs & derivatives
  • beta Carotene / analysis


  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • Carotenoids
  • Lutein