Acrylamide hemoglobin adduct levels and ovarian cancer risk: a nested case-control study

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Apr;22(4):653-60. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-1387. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


Background: Acrylamide is a probable human carcinogen formed during cooking of starchy foods. Two large prospective cohort studies of dietary acrylamide intake and ovarian cancer risk observed a positive association, although two other studies reported no association.

Methods: We measured acrylamide exposure using red blood cell acrylamide and glycidamide hemoglobin adducts among women in two large prospective cohorts: the Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II. Between blood collection and 2010, we identified 263 incident cases of epithelial ovarian cancer, matching two controls per case. We used logistic regression models to examine the association between acrylamide exposure and ovarian cancer risk, adjusting for matching factors, family history of ovarian cancer, tubal ligation, oral contraceptive use, body mass index, parity, alcohol intake, smoking, physical activity, and caffeine intake.

Results: The multivariate-adjusted relative risk (RR) of ovarian cancer comparing the highest versus lowest tertile of total acrylamide adducts was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.50-1.24, P trend = 0.08). The comparable RR of ovarian cancer among non-smokers at blood draw was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.57-1.27, P trend = 0.14). The association did not differ by tumor histology (serous invasive versus not), P for heterogeneity = 0.86. Individual adduct types (acrylamide or glycidamide) were not associated with risk.

Conclusions: We observed no evidence that acrylamide exposure as measured by adducts to hemoglobin is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Impact: Our finding indicates that acrylamide intake may not increase risk of ovarian cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epoxy Compounds / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / metabolism
  • Nurses
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Hemoglobins
  • Acrylamide
  • glycidamide