Markers of inflammation and risk of ovarian cancer in Los Angeles County

Int J Cancer. 2009 Mar 15;124(6):1409-15. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24091.


Factors that increase inflammation have been suggested to influence the development of ovarian cancer, but these factors have not been well studied. To further investigate this question, we studied the role of talc use, history of endometrioisis and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and risk of ovarian cancer in a population-based case-control study in Los Angeles County involving 609 women with newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer and 688 population-based control women. Risk of ovarian cancer increased significantly with increasing frequency and duration of talc use; compared to never users risk was highest among long-duration (20+ years), frequent (at least daily) talc users (adjusted relative risk (RR) = 2.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.34-3.23). A history of physician-diagnosed endometriosis was statistically significantly associated with risk (RR = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.01-2.75). Women who were talc users and had a history of endometriosis showed a 3-fold increased risk (RR = 3.12, 95% CI = 1.36-7.22). Contrary to the hypothesis that risk of ovarian cancer may be reduced by use of NSAIDs; risk increased with increasing frequency (per 7 times/week, RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.14-1.43) and years of NSAID use (per 5 years of use, RR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.10-1.42); this was consistent across types of NSAIDs. We conclude that risk of ovarian cancer is significantly associated with talc use and with a history of endometriosis, as has been found in previous studies. The NSAID finding was unexpected and suggests that factors associated with inflammation are associated with ovarian cancer risk. This result needs confirmation with careful attention to the reasons for NSAID use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Educational Status
  • Endometriosis / complications
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Risk
  • Sterilization, Tubal / statistics & numerical data


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Biomarkers