Association of Frequent Aspirin Use With Ovarian Cancer Risk According to Genetic Susceptibility

JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Feb 1;6(2):e230666. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.0666.


Importance: Frequent aspirin use is associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk, but it is unknown whether genetic factors modify this association. Understanding effect modifiers is important given that any use of aspirin for ovarian cancer chemoprevention will likely need to focus on specific higher-risk subgroups.

Objective: To evaluate whether the association between frequent aspirin use and ovarian cancer is modified by a polygenic score (PGS) for nonmucinous ovarian cancer.

Design, setting, and participants: We pooled individual-level data from 8 population-based case-control studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium conducted in the US, UK, and Australia between 1995 and 2009. We included case patients and control participants with both genetic data and data on frequent aspirin use. Case patients with mucinous ovarian cancer were excluded. Data were analyzed between November 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022.

Exposures: Frequent aspirin use, defined as daily or almost daily use for 6 months or longer.

Main outcomes and measures: The main outcome was nonmucinous epithelial ovarian cancer. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs and likelihood ratio tests to investigate effect modification by the PGS.

Results: There were 4476 case patients with nonmucinous ovarian cancer and 6659 control participants included in this analysis. At study enrollment, the median (IQR) age was 58 (50-66) years for case patients and 57 (49-65) years for control participants. Case patients and control participants self-reported that they were Black (122 [3%] vs 218 [3%]), White (3995 [89%] vs 5851 [88%]), or of other race and ethnicity (348 [8%] vs 580 [9%]; race and ethnicity were unknown for 11 [0%] vs 10 [0%]). There were 575 case patients (13%) and 1030 control participants (15%) who reported frequent aspirin use. The 13% reduction in ovarian cancer risk associated with frequent aspirin use (OR, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.76-0.99]) was not modified by the PGS. Consistent ORs were observed among individuals with a PGS less than (0.85 [0.70-1.02]) and greater than (0.86 [0.74-1.01]) the median. Results were similar by histotype.

Conclusions and relevance: The findings of this study suggest that genetic susceptibility to ovarian cancer based on currently identified common genetic variants does not appear to modify the protective association between frequent aspirin use and ovarian cancer risk. Future work should continue to explore the role of aspirin use for ovarian cancer prevention among individuals who are at higher risk for ovarian cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aspirin*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / genetics


  • Aspirin