Ovarian cancer and smoking: Individual participant meta-analysis including 28 114 women with ovarian cancer from 51 epidemiological studies

E. E. Calle*, S. M. Gapstur, A. V. Patel, L. Dal Maso, R. Talamini, A. Chetrit, G. Hirsh-Yechezkel, F. Lubin, S. Sadetzki, E. Banks, V. Beral, D. Bull, K. Callaghan, B. Crossley, K. Gaitskell, A. Goodill, J. Green, C. Hermon, T. Key, K. MoserG. Reeves, F. Sitas, R. Collins, R. Doll, R. Peto, C. A. Gonzalez, N. Lee, P. Marchbanks, H. W. Ory, H. B. Peterson, P. A. Wingo, N. Martin, T. Pardthaisong, S. Silpisornkosol, C. Theetranont, B. Boosiri, S. Chutivongse, P. Jimakorn, P. Virutamasen, C. Wongsrichanalai, A. Tjonneland, L. Titus-Ernstoff, T. Byers, T. Rohan, B. J. Mosgaard, M. Vessey, D. Yeates, J. L. Freudenheim, J. Chang-Claude, R. Kaaks, K. E. Anderson, A. Folsom, K. Robien, J. Hampton, P. A. Newcomb, M. A. Rossing, D. B. Thomas, N. S. Weiss, E. Riboli, F. Clavel-Chapelon, D. Cramer, S. E. Hankinson, S. S. Tworoger, S. Franceschi, C. La Vecchia, E. Negri, H. O. Adami, C. Magnusson, T. Riman, E. Weiderpass, A. Wolk, L. J. Schouten, P. A. van den Brandt, N. Chantarakul, S. Koetsawang, D. Rachawat, D. Palli, A. Black, L. A. Brinton, D. M. Freedman, P. Hartge, A. W. Hsing, Jr V. Lacey, R. N. Hoover, C. Schairer, M. Urban, S. Graff-Iversen, R. Selmer, C. J. Bain, A. C. Green, D. M. Purdie, V. Siskind, P. M. Webb, K. Moysich, S. E. McCann, P. Hannaford, C. Kay, C. W. Binns, A. H. Lee, M. Zhang, R. B. Ness, P. Nasca, P. F. Coogan, J. R. Palmer, L. Rosenberg, J. Kelsey, R. Paffenbarger, A. Whittemore, K. Katsouyanni, A. Trichopoulou, D. Trichopoulos, A. Tzonou, A. Dabancens, L. Martinez, R. Molina, O. Salas, M. T. Goodman, G. Lurie, M. E. Carney, L. R. Wilkens, L. Hartman, J. Manjer, H. Olsson, J. A. Grisso, M. Morgan, J. E. Wheeler, C. H. Bunker, R. P. Edwards, F. Modugno, P. H.M. Peeters, J. Casagrande, M. C. Pike, R. K. Ross, A. H. Wu, A. B. Miller, M. Kumle, I. T. Gram, E. Lund, L. McGowan, X. O. Shu, W. Zheng, T. M.M. Farley, S. Holck, O. Meirik, H. A. Risch

*Corresponding author for this work

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114 Scopus citations


Background Smoking has been linked to mucinous ovarian cancer, but its eff ects on other ovarian cancer subtypes and on overall ovarian cancer risk are unclear, and the fi ndings from most studies with relevant data are unpublished. To assess these associations, we review the published and unpublished evidence. Methods Eligible epidemiological studies were identifi ed by electronic searches, review articles, and discussions with colleagues. Individual participant data for 28 114 women with and 94 942 without ovarian cancer from 51 epidemiological studies were analysed centrally, yielding adjusted relative risks (RRs) of ovarian cancer in smokers compared with never smokers. Findings After exclusion of studies with hospital controls, in which smoking could have aff ected recruitment, overall ovarian cancer incidence was only slightly increased in current smokers compared with women who had never smoked (RR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01-1.11, p=0.01). Of 17 641 epithelial cancers with specifi ed histology, 2314 (13%) were mucinous, 2360 (13%) endometrioid, 969 (5%) clear-cell, and 9086 (52%) serous. Smoking-related risks varied substantially across these subtypes (pheterogeneity<0.0001). For mucinous cancers, incidence was increased in current versus never smokers (1.79, 95% CI 1.60-2.00, p<0.0001), but the increase was mainly in borderline malignant rather than in fully malignant tumours (2.25, 95% CI 1.91-2.65 vs 1.49, 1.28-1.73; pheterogeneity=0.01; almost half the mucinous tumours were only borderline malignant). Both endometrioid (0.81, 95% CI 0.72-0.92, p=0.001) and clear-cell ovarian cancer risks (0.80, 95% CI 0.65-0.97, p=0.03) were reduced in current smokers, and there was no signifi cant association for serous ovarian cancers (0.99, 95% CI 0.93-1.06, p=0.8). These associations did not vary signifi cantly by 13 sociodemographic and personal characteristics of women including their body-mass index, parity, and use of alcohol, oral contraceptives, and menopausal hormone therapy. Interpretation The excess of mucinous ovarian cancers in smokers, which is mainly of tumours of borderline malignancy, is roughly counterbalanced by the defi cit of endometrioid and clear-cell ovarian cancers. The substantial variation in smoking-related risks by tumour subtype is important for understanding ovarian carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-956
Number of pages11
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Cancer InstituteP30CA071789
National Cancer Institute
Medical Research Council
Cancer Research UK


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