Objectives: We studied the association between cigarette smoking and ovarian cancer in a population-based case control study.
Methods: A total of 794 women with histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer who were aged 18-79 years and resident in one of three Australian states were interviewed, together with 855 controls aged 18-79 years selected at random from the electoral roll from the same states. Information was obtained about cigarette smoking and other factors including age, parity, oral contraceptive use, and reproductive factors. We estimated the relative risk of ovarian cancer associated with cigarette smoking, accounting for histologic type, using multivariable logistic regression to adjust for confounding factors.
Results: Women who had ever smoked cigarettes were more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who had never smoked (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2-1.9). Risk was greater for ovarian cancers of borderline malignancy (OR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.4-4.1) than for invasive tumors (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.2-2.4) and the histologic subtype most strongly associated overall was the mucinous subtype among both current smokers (OR = 3.2; 95% CI = 1.8-5.7) and past smokers (OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.3-3.9).
Conclusions: These data extend recent findings and suggest that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for ovarian cancer, especially mucinous and borderline mucinous types. From a public health viewpoint, this is one of the few reports of a potentially avoidable risk factor for ovarian cancer.