Dietary glycemic index, glycemic load and ovarian cancer risk: A case-control study in Italy

L. S A Augustin, J. Polesel, C. Bosetti, C. W C Kendall, C. La Vecchia, M. Parpinel, E. Conti, M. Montella, S. Franceschi, D. J A Jenkins, Luigino Dal Maso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dietary carbohydrates vary in their ability to raise blood glucose and insulin levels, which, in turn, influence levels of sex hormones and insulin-like growth factors. We analyzed the effect of type and amount of carbohydrates on ovarian cancer risk, using the glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL) measurement in a large case-control study conducted in Italy. Materials and methods: Cases included 1031 women with incident, histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer, from four Italian regions. Controls included 2411 women admitted to the same hospital networks for acute, non-neoplastic conditions. Average daily GI and GL were calculated from a validated food frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using multiple logistic regression. Results: Ovarian cancer was directly associated with dietary GI (OR for highest versus lowest quartile = 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.1) and GL (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.1). The associations were observed in pre- and post-menopausal women, and they remained consistent across strata of major covariates identified. Conclusions: This study supports the hypothesis of a direct association between GI and GL and ovarian cancer risk and, consequently, of a possible role of hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance in ovarian cancer development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Carbohydrate
  • Case-control study
  • Glycemic load
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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