Egg consumption is associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer: Evidence from a meta-analysis of observational studies

Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):635-41. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.07.009. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


Background: The findings of epidemiologic studies on the association between egg consumption and ovarian cancer risk remain conflicting. The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate whether an association exists between egg intake and ovarian cancer risk in epidemiologic studies.

Methods: A literature search was carried out using PUBMED, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library Central database for all medical literature published in English-language journals up to August 2013. Before meta-analysis, between-study heterogeneity and publication bias were assessed using adequate statistical tests. Fixed-effect and random-effect models were used to estimate summary relative risks (RR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analysis were also performed.

Results: A total of 12 eligible studies (six case-control studies and six cohort studies) were included, involving 629,453 subjects and 3728 ovarian cancer cases. We found that high egg intake (comparing the highest with the lowest category) was associated with a significant increased risk of ovarian cancer (RR = 1.21, 95% CI [1.06, 1.38]). When we examined whether the associations differed by study type, statistically significant effect of egg intake on ovarian cancer was observed among case-control studies (RR = 1.22, 95% CI [1.03, 1.43]), but not among cohort studies (RR = 1.20, 95% CI [0.97, 1.48]).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that egg consumption may increase ovarian cancer risk. Additional studies, especially large prospective cohort studies, are warranted to confirm the findings.

Keywords: Dietary; Egg; Epidemiology; Meta-analysis; Ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Diet*
  • Eggs / adverse effects*
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors