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Dietary patterns, which reflect overall diet and possible nutrient and food interactions, have been reported to be related to ovarian cancer (OC) risk. However, studies on the relationship between dietary patterns and OC risk have been inconsistent. Thus, we carried out a systematic meta-analysis to assess the relationship between dietary patterns and the risk of OC. Relevant studies are identified by searching the Medline and Embase electronic databases up to December 2016. The Cochrane Q statistic and the I2 statistical were used to evaluate heterogeneity. A total of 22 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in this meta-analysis. There was evidence of a decreased risk for OC in the highest versus the lowest categories of healthy dietary pattern [odds ratio (OR)=0.86; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.74–0.99; P=0.04]. An increased risk of OC was shown for the highest versus the lowest category of a western-style dietary pattern (OR=1.19; 95% CI: 1.01–1.41; P=0.04). No significant association with OC risk was observed in the highest versus the lowest category of a heavy drinking pattern (OR=0.89; 95% CI: 0.67–1.19; P=0.42). The results of this meta-analysis suggest that a healthy dietary pattern is associated with reduced risk for OC and a western-style dietary pattern is associated with an increased risk of OC. Further studies are needed to confirm our results.