Obesity and risk of ovarian cancer subtypes: Evidence from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium

Catherine M. Olsen, Christina M. Nagle, David C. Whiteman, Roberta Ness, Celeste Leigh Pearce, Malcolm C. Pike, Mary Anne Rossing, Kathryn L. Terry, Anna H. Wu, Study Group, Harvey A. Risch, Herbert Yu, Jennifer A. Doherty, Jenny Chang-Claude, Rebecca Hein, Stefan Nickels, Shan Wang-Gohrke, Marc T. Goodman, Michael E. Carney, Rayna K. MatsunoGalina Lurie, Kirsten Moysich, Susanne K. Kjaer, Allan Jensen, Estrid Hogdall, Ellen L. Goode, Brooke L. Fridley, Robert A. Vierkant, Melissa C. Larson, Joellen Schildkraut, Cathrine Hoyo, Patricia Moorman, Rachel P. Weber, Daniel W. Cramer, Allison F. Vitonis, Elisa V. Bandera, Sara H. Olson, Lorna Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Melony King, Louise A. Brinton, Hannah Yang, Montserrat Garcia-Closas, Jolanta Lissowska, Hoda Anton-Culver, Argyrios Ziogas, Simon A. Gayther, Susan J. Ramus, Usha Menon, Aleksandra Gentry-Maharaj, Penelope M. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Whilst previous studies have reported that higher BMI increases a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer, associations for the different histological subtypes have not been well defined. As the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically, and classification of ovarian histology has improved in the last decade, we sought to examine the association in a pooled analysis of recent studies participating in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. We evaluated the association between BMI (recent, maximum and in young adulthood) and ovarian cancer risk using original data from 15 case-control studies (13 548 cases and 17 913 controls). We combined study-specific adjusted odds ratios (ORs) using a random-effects model. We further examined the associations by histological subtype, menopausal status and post-menopausal hormone use. High BMI (all time-points) was associated with increased risk. This was most pronounced for borderline serous (recent BMI: pooled ORZ1.24 per 5 kg/m2; 95% CI 1.18-1.30), invasive endometrioid (1.17; 1.11-1.23) and invasive mucinous (1.19; 1.06-1.32) tumours. There was no association with serous invasive cancer overall (0.98; 0.94-1.02), but increased risks for low-grade serous invasive tumours (1.13, 1.03-1.25) and in pre-menopausal women (1.11; 1.04-1.18). Among post-menopausal women, the associations did not differ between hormone replacement therapy users and non-users. Whilst obesity appears to increase risk of the less common histological subtypes of ovarian cancer, it does not increase risk of high-grade invasive serous cancers, and reducing BMI is therefore unlikely to prevent the majority of ovarian cancer deaths. Other modifiable factors must be identified to control this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • BMI
  • Obesity
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Obesity and risk of ovarian cancer subtypes: Evidence from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this