Cigarette smoking and the risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer in a prospective cohort study

Eur J Cancer. 2003 May;39(8):1157-64. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(03)00195-3.


Few cohort studies have examined the association between cigarette smoking and ovarian cancer risk, either overall, or by histological subtype. In relation to the latter, it has been suggested that mucinous ovarian tumours may be aetiologically unrelated to the other types of epithelial tumours and that their respective associations with cigarette smoking may differ. We examined the association between smoking and ovarian cancer risk using data from participants in a randomised controlled trial of screening for breast cancer involving 89,835 women aged 40-59 years at recruitment. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). During an average of 16.5 years of follow-up, we observed 454 incident cases of ovarian cancer (184 serous, 67 endometrioid, 32 mucinous, 171 other or unknown). We found that women who had smoked for several decades had an approximately two-fold increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Relative to never-smokers, women who had smoked for 40 years or more were at the highest risk (RR=2.50, 95% CI=1.37-4.56). The association with non-mucinous tumours was similar to that observed overall. For mucinous tumours, a two-fold increased risk was observed with smoking of shorter duration, although the number of mucinous tumours in our data-set was small. Long-term cigarette smoking may be associated with an increased risk of epithelial ovarian tumours.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / etiology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*