Background No studies have so far evaluated the impact of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) as an entity on ovarian cancer risk. The authors aimed to examine the association between factors in the MetS, individually and combined, and risk of ovarian cancer incidence and mortality.
Methods Altogether, 290 000 women from Austria, Norway and Sweden were enrolled during 1974–2005, with measurements taken of height, weight, blood pressure and levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. Relative risks (RRs) of ovarian cancer were estimated using Cox regression for each MetS factor in quintiles and for standardized levels (z-scores), and for a composite z-score for the MetS. RRs were corrected for random error in measurements.
Results During follow-up, 644 epithelial ovarian cancers and 388 deaths from ovarian cancer were identified. There was no overall association between MetS and ovarian cancer risk. Increasing levels of cholesterol [RR 1.52, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.01–2.29, per 1-U increment of z-score] and blood pressure (RR 1.79, 95% CI 1.12–2.86) conferred, however, increased risks of mucinous and endometrioid tumours, respectively. In women below the age of 50 years, there was increased risk of ovarian cancer mortality for MetS (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.00–2.30). Increasing levels of BMI (RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.01–1.37) conferred increased risk of ovarian cancer mortality in women above the age of 50 years.
Conclusion There was no overall association between MetS and ovarian cancer risk. However, increasing levels of cholesterol and blood pressure increased the risks of mucinous and endometrioid tumours, respectively. Increasing levels of BMI conferred an increased risk of ovarian cancer mortality in women above the age of 50 years.