Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Incidence of Endometrial Cancer: The Iowa Women's Health Study

Aaron R. Folsom, Zewditu Demissie, Lisa Harnack

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83 Scopus citations


Although specific foods or nutrients have not been linked consistently with risk of endometrial cancer, obesity and diabetes are associated with increased risk. These conditions may be influenced by the glycemic index or load of the usual diet. We therefore examined the association of glycemic index and load measured at baseline using a food frequency questionnaire in a cohort of 23,335 postmenopausal women. Over 15 yr of follow-up, we identified 415 incident endometrial cancers. The average glycemic index was not associated with endometrial cancer occurrence. After adjustment for other risk factors, the average glycemic load was positively but weakly associated, with a relative risk of 1.24 (95% CI = 0.90-1.72) for the highest versus lowest quintile of glycemic load (P for trend = 0.08). This relative risk was 1.46 (95% CI = 1.02-2.08; P for trend = 0.02) among nondiabetic women, but the trend was in the opposite direction among diabetic women. Our study indicates that a higher dietary glycemic load may be a risk factor for endometrial cancer incidence in nondiabetic women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Cancer Institute grant CA39742. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the National Cancer Institute. During the publication process, a case–control report by Augustin et al. showed glycemic index and glycemic load positively associated with endometrial cancer (28). Address correspondence to A. R. Folsom, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Suite 300, 1300 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015. Phone: (612) 626-8862. FAX: (612) 624-0315. E-mail:


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