A pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies of dietary fat, cholesterol and egg intake and ovarian cancer

Jeanine M. Genkinger, David J. Hunter, Donna Spiegelman, Kristin E. Anderson, W. Lawrence Beeson, Julie E. Buring, Graham A. Colditz, Gary E. Fraser, Jo L. Freudenheim, R. Alexandra Goldbohm, Susan E. Hankinson, Karen L. Koenig, Susanna C. Larsson, Michael Leitzmann, Marjorie L. McCullough, Anthony B. Miller, Carmen Rodriguez, Thomas E. Rohan, Julie A. Ross, Arthur SchatzkinLeo J. Schouten, Ellen Smit, Walter C. Willett, Alicja Wolk, Anne Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, Shumin M. Zhang, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Fat and cholesterol are theorized to promote ovarian carcinogenesis by increasing circulating estrogen levels. Although case-control studies have reported positive associations between total and saturated fat intake and ovarian cancer risk, two cohort studies have observed null associations. Dietary cholesterol and eggs have been positively associated with ovarian cancer risk. A pooled analysis was conducted on 12 cohort studies. Among 523,217 women, 2,132 incident epithelial ovarian cancer cases were identified. Study-specific relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by Cox proportional hazards models, and then pooled using a random effects model. Total fat intake was not associated with ovarian cancer risk (pooled multivariate RR = 1.08, 95% CI 0.86-1.34 comparing ≥45 to 30-<35% of calories). No association was observed for monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans-unsaturated, animal and vegetable fat, cholesterol and egg intakes with ovarian cancer risk. A weakly positive, but non-linear association, was observed for saturated fat intake (pooled multivariate RR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.01-1.66 comparing highest versus lowest decile). Results for histologic subtypes were similar. Overall, fat, cholesterol and egg intakes were not associated with ovarian cancer risk. The positive association for saturated fat intake at very high intakes merits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement This study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, # CA098566 and #CA55075.


  • Cholesterol
  • Diet
  • Egg
  • Fat
  • Ovarian cancer


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