Epidemiologic Relationship Between Obesity and Ovarian Cancer

  • Carmen Jochem
  • Inga Schlecht
  • Michael Leitzmann
Part of the Energy Balance and Cancer book series (EBAC, volume 13)


Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women worldwide. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown a positive association between obesity and ovarian cancer, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund recently concluded that body fatness (marked by body mass index) is a probable risk factor for ovarian cancer. The positive relation of body fatness to ovarian cancer appears to be more evident among non-users of hormone therapy. Furthermore, compared to normal weight, obesity is associated with poorer ovarian cancer survival. Possible biological mechanisms linking obesity with ovarian cancer risk and progression include insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia, increased levels of circulating growth factors, chronic inflammation, and altered levels of sex hormones. Thus, obesity, as a modifiable risk factor, should be targeted for preventing ovarian cancer and for improving ovarian cancer survival.


Ovarian cancer age standardized incidence rate Ovarian cancer risk factor Obesity Ovarian cancer mortality Insulin resistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Jochem
    • 1
  • Inga Schlecht
    • 1
  • Michael Leitzmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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