Risk of ovarian cancer in the United States in relation to anthropometric measures: does the association depend on menopausal status?

Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Jun;13(5):455-63. doi: 10.1023/a:1015751105039.


Objective: To elucidate the association between anthropometric measures and ovarian cancer risk.

Methods: From a population-based study of 563 cases of ovarian cancer and 523 controls we recorded weight, both at index age and age 18, and height using an in-person questionnaire, and used these to calculate body mass index (BMI). Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate the exposure odds ratios, adjusted for established risk factors, stratified, in turn, by menopausal status and histologic type of ovarian cancer.

Results: Height, weight, and BMI were unrelated to risk for ovarian cancer in the total group of cases and controls. After stratification by menopausal status, weight and BMI were associated positively with risk among premenopausal women, but did not affect risk postmenopausally. High BMI, weight, and height were most strongly related to risk of serous borderline cancer, particularly among premenopausal women. The association did not appear to be confined only to those overweight women with gynecologic problems such as irregular periods or ovarian cysts.

Conclusions: Weight and BMI are positively related to premenopausal ovarian cancer risk in this population-based case-control study. This association is particularly noted for serous borderline tumors. This may suggest the importance of endocrine factors, which are altered in overweight women, such as insulin or androgens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Postmenopause*
  • Premenopause*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology