Risk of ovarian cancer associated with BMI varies by menopausal status

Gregory P. Beehler, Manveen Sekhon, Julie A. Baker, Barbara E. Teter, Susan E. McCann, Kerry J. Rodabaugh, Kirsten B. Moysich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Obesity has been linked to increased risk of several malignancies, but the role of obesity in the etiology of ovarian cancer remains unclear. Therefore, a hospital-based case-control study was conducted to investigate the association between body size and risk of ovarian cancer. Participants included 427 women with primary, incident ovarian cancer and 854 cancer-free controls. All participants received medical services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY between 1982 and 1998 and completed a comprehensive epidemiological questionnaire. The instrument included questions regarding height and usual wt prior to survey. Participants were classified as underweight/normal (BMI ≤24.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2), or obese (BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2). Compared with underweight/normal participants, being overweight (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.02; 95% CI 0.77-1.36) or obese (adjusted OR = 1.17; 95% CI 0.84-1.65) was not significantly associated with an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. After stratification by menopausal status, BMI showed no significant association to ovarian cancer risk among postmenopausal women (≥50 y old). However, among premenopausal women (<50 y old), those classified as obese had a significantly increased risk (adjusted OR = 2.19; 95% CI 1.19-4.04) compared with women classified as normal/underweight. These findings suggest a potential influence of menopausal status on the total endogenous hormonal environment, including estrogens, androgens, and insulin-like growth factors, when considering the association between body size and ovarian cancer risk. In light of the fact that obesity is a modifiable risk factor, further investigation on this topic is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2881-2886
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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