Ovarian ageing, follicle depletion, and cancer: a hypothesis for the aetiology of epithelial ovarian cancer involving follicle depletion

Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1108-11. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70281-X.


The association between ovarian cancer risk and reproductive factors has been well established, and two main theories, incessant ovulation and gonadotropin stimulation, have been proposed to explain the mechanism. Recent studies using animal models of ovarian tumorigenesis, and analysis of ovarian tissues from prophylactic oophorectomies, suggest that depletion of ovarian follicles might underlie the epidemiological findings linking reproductive history and ovarian cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / etiology*
  • Ovarian Follicle*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Ovulation
  • Postmenopause*
  • Reproductive History
  • Risk Factors


  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary