Effect of Obesity on Survival of Women With Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

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Although obesity is shown to be a risk factor for epithelial ovarian cancer, its role as a prognostic factor has been remained inconclusive. In this study, available evidences on this matter to date have been assembled for a meta-analysis to determine the effect of obesity on the survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.

Materials and Methods

Eligible studies published up to December 2010 were searched using MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and manual review of relevant bibliography to look for additional studies was done. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) from individual studies were pooled using a random-effects model.


Ten cohort studies of 331 screened articles were included in the final analysis. The meta-analysis showed overweight or obesity at early adulthood to be associated with higher mortality among patients with ovarian cancer (HR, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.10–2.34). Among patients with advanced ovarian cancer, premorbid obesity was associated with worse prognosis (HR, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.09–1.93). However, there was no significant relationship between prognosis and obesity around the time of diagnosis.


This study suggests a possible relationship between obesity at early adulthood and higher mortality among patients with ovarian cancer. Further studies are needed to elucidate the harmful effect of obesity on the survival of patients with ovarian cancer.

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