Galactose consumption and metabolism in relation to the risk of ovarian cancer

Lancet. 1989 Jul 8;2(8654):66-71. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(89)90313-9.


In a case-control study, consumption of dairy foods by 235 white women with epithelial ovarian cancer and by 239 control women, and activity of red blood cell galactose-1-phosphate uridyl transferase (transferase) in a subset of 145 cases and 127 controls were determined. Yogurt was consumed at least monthly by 49% of cases and 36% of controls. The mean transferase activity of cases was significantly lower than that of controls. When a ratio of lactose consumption to transferase (L/T) was calculated, cases had a mean L/T of 1.17 compared with 0.98 for controls; there was a highly significant trend for increasing ovarian cancer risk with increasing L/T ratio. Lactose consumption may be a dietary risk factor and transferase a genetic risk factor for ovarian cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Galactose / adverse effects*
  • Galactose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactose / adverse effects
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Parity
  • Religion
  • Risk Factors
  • UTP-Hexose-1-Phosphate Uridylyltransferase / metabolism


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • UTP-Hexose-1-Phosphate Uridylyltransferase
  • Lactose
  • Galactose