Dietary influences on survival after ovarian cancer

Int J Cancer. 2003 Aug 20;106(2):264-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.11204.


We evaluated the effects of various food groups and micronutrients in the diet on survival among women who originally participated in a population-based case-control study of ovarian cancer conducted across 3 Australian states between 1990 and 1993. This analysis included 609 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, primarily because there was negligible mortality in women with borderline tumors. The women's usual diet was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Deaths in the cohort were identified using state-based cancer registries and the Australian National Death Index (NDI). Crude 5-year survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier technique, and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were obtained from Cox regression models. After adjusting for important confounding factors, a survival advantage was observed for those who reported higher intake of vegetables in general (HR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.57-0.99, p-value trend 0.01 for the highest third, compared to the lowest third), and cruciferous vegetables in particular (HR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.57-0.98, p-value trend 0.03), and among women in the upper third of intake of vitamin E (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.58-1.01, p-value trend 0.04). Inverse associations were also seen with protein (p-value trend 0.09), red meat (p-value trend 0.06) and white meat (p-value trend 0.07), and modest positive trends (maximum 30% excess) with lactose (p-value trend 0.04), calcium and dairy products. Although much remains to be learned about the influence of nutritional factors after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, our study suggests the possibility that a diet high in vegetable intake may help improve survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / mortality*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Rate
  • Vegetables


  • Micronutrients