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Sugary food and beverage consumption and epithelial ovarian cancer risk: a population-based case–control study

Melony G King12, Sara H Olson3, Lisa Paddock4, Urmila Chandran12, Kitaw Demissie12, Shou-En Lu12, Niyati Parekh5, Lorna Rodriguez-Rodriguez1 and Elisa V Bandera12*

Author Affiliations

1 The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 195 Little Albany St, NJ 08903, New Brunswick, USA

2 School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA

3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

4 New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Trenton, NJ, USA

5 Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health & Department of Population Health, Langone School of Medicine; New York University, New York, NY, USA

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:94  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-94

Published: 27 February 2013



Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer in the US. The consumption of refined sugars has increased dramatically over the past few decades, accounting for almost 15% of total energy intake. Yet, there is limited evidence on how sugar consumption affects ovarian cancer risk.


We evaluated ovarian cancer risk in relation to sugary foods and beverages, and total and added sugar intakes in a population-based case–control study. Cases were women with newly diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer, older than 21 years, able to speak English or Spanish, and residents of six counties in New Jersey. Controls met same criteria as cases, but were ineligible if they had both ovaries removed. A total of 205 cases and 390 controls completed a phone interview, food frequency questionnaire, and self-recorded waist and hip measurements. Based on dietary data, we computed the number of servings of dessert foods, non-dessert foods, sugary drinks and total sugary foods and drinks for each participant. Total and added sugar intakes (grams/day) were also calculated. Multiple logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for food and drink groups and total and added sugar intakes, while adjusting for major risk factors.


We did not find evidence of an association between consumption of sugary foods and beverages and risk, although there was a suggestion of increased risk associated with sugary drink intake (servings per 1,000 kcal; OR=1.63, 95% CI: 0.94-2.83).


Overall, we found little indication that sugar intake played a major role on ovarian cancer development.

Ovarian cancer; Diet; Sugar; Sugary foods; Sugary drinks; Added sugars; Caloric sweeteners; Case–control; Nutrition; Risk factors