Glycemic index, glycemic load, and incidence of endometrial cancer: the Iowa women's health study

Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(2):119-24. doi: 10.1207/S15327914NC4602_03.


Although specific foods or nutrients have not been linked consistently with risk of endometrial cancer, obesity and diabetes are associated with increased risk. These conditions may be influenced by the glycemic index or load of the usual diet. We therefore examined the association of glycemic index and load measured at baseline using a food frequency questionnaire in a cohort of 23335 postmenopausal women. Over 15 yr of follow-up, we identified 415 incident endometrial cancers. The average glycemic index was not associated with endometrial cancer occurrence. After adjustment for other risk factors, the average glycemic load was positively but weakly associated, with a relative risk of 1.24 (95% CI = 0.90-1.72) for the highest versus lowest quintile of glycemic load (P for trend = 0.08). This relative risk was 1.46 (95% CI = 1.02-2.08; P for trend = 0.02) among nondiabetic women, but the trend was in the opposite direction among diabetic women. Our study indicates that a higher dietary glycemic load may be a risk factor for endometrial cancer incidence in nondiabetic women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Iowa
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates