Ovarian Cancer Isn't Sweet

Ovarian cancer linked to sugar intake has little evidence

(RxWiki News) Ovarian cancer has been linked to genetics, environment and hormones. But scientists still aren’t totally sure whether diet and sugar may play a role too.

In a recent study, researchers interviewed a group of women with and without ovarian cancer about the amount of sugar they consumed.

Results showed a small increase in ovarian cancer in women who drank sugary beverages, but no increase in women who ate desserts regularly.

The authors noted that there were limitations to their study and other studies have found links between sugar consumption and ovarian cancer.

"Research how to lower ovarian cancer risks."

Melony G. King, PhD, from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, led an investigation into links between sugar consumption and ovarian cancer risks. 

For the study, 205 women with ovarian cancer and 390 women without ovarian cancer were interviewed about their food intake and body measurements.

The women with ovarian cancer were 21 years of age or older and enrolled in the New Jersey Ovarian Cancer Study. The women without ovarian cancer were from the ongoing Estrogens, Diet, Genetics and Endometrial Cancer (EDGE) Study.

The interviewers asked questions about the intake of sugary drinks, dessert foods, non-dessert foods and any other sugary foods.

The researchers did not find a solid link between eating sugary foods and developing ovarian cancer. Consuming sugary drinks, however, increased the risk of developing ovarian cancer. For every 1,000 calories of sugary drink consumed, the risk of ovarian cancer increased 1.6 times.

A single 12-ounce can of soda can have between 120 to 200 calories depending upon the brand.

“Overall, we found little indication that sugar intake played a major role in ovarian cancer development,” the authors concluded.

“The overall evidence for sugary foods and drinks and added sugars remains inconclusive,” they added. 

The authors compared the results of this study to previous studies on sugar intake and ovarian cancer. Several information gaps were found in all of the studies. The authors recommended continued research to provide a consistent conclusion concerning sugar intake and ovarian cancer risk.

This study was published on February 27 in BMC Cancer.

The National Cancer Institute and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey provided funding for this project. No conflicts of interest were declared.

Review Date: 
March 10, 2013