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There is some evidence that plasma insulin levels might influence ovarian cancer risk. Glyacemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) are measures that allow the carbohydrate content of individual foods to be classified according to their postprandial glycaemic effects and hence their effects on circulating insulin levels. Therefore, we examined ovarian cancer risk in association with GI and GL, and intake of dietary carbohydrate and sugar.
The study was conducted in a prospective cohort of 49 613 Canadian women enrolled in the National Breast Screening Study (NBSS) who completed a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) between 1980 and 1985. Linkages to national mortality and cancer databases yielded data on deaths and cancer incidence, with follow-up ending between 1998 and 2000. Data from the FFQ were used to estimate overall GI and GL, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between energy-adjusted quartile levels of GL, overall GI, total carbohydrates, total sugar and ovarian cancer risk.
During a mean 16.4 years of follow-up, we observed 264 incident ovarian cancer cases. GI and total carbohydrate and sugar intakes were not associated with ovarian cancer risk in the total cohort. GL was positively associated with a 72% increase in risk of ovarian cancer (HR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.13–2.62, Ptrend = 0.01) and the magnitude of the association was slightly greater among postmenopausal (HR = 1.89, 95% CI = 0.98–3.65, Ptrend = 0.03) than among premenopausal women (HR = 1.64, 95% CI = 0.95–2.88, Ptrend = 0.07).
Our data suggest that consumption of diets with high GL values may be associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer.
High-glycaemic-load diets may increase endometrial cancer risk by increasing circulating insulin levels and, as a consequence, circulating oestrogen levels. Given the paucity of epidemiological data regarding the relationship between dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load and endometrial cancer risk, we sought to examine these associations using data from a prospective cohort study.
Design, setting and subjects
We examined the association between dietary glycaemic load and endometrial cancer risk in a cohort of 49 613 Canadian women aged between 40 and 59 years at baseline who completed self-administered food-frequency questionnaires between 1982 and 1985. Linkages to national mortality and cancer databases yielded data on deaths and cancer incidence, with follow-up ending between 1998 and 2000.
During a mean of 16.4 years of follow-up, we observed 426 incident cases of endometrial cancer. Hazard ratios for the highest versus the lowest quartile level of overall glycaemic index and glycaemic load were 1.47 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.90–2.41; P for trend = 0.14) and 1.36 (95% CI = 1.01–1.84; P for trend = 0.21), respectively. No association was observed between total carbohydrate or total sugar consumption and endometrial cancer risk. Among obese women (body mass index > 30 kg m−2) the hazard ratio for the highest versus the lowest quartile level of glycaemic load was 1.88 (95% CI = 1.08–3.29; P for trend = 0.54) and there was a 55% increased risk for the highest versus the lowest quartile level of glycaemic load among premenopausal women. There was also evidence to support a positive association between glycaemic load and endometrial cancer risk among postmenopausal women who had used hormone replacement therapy.
Our data suggest that diets with high glycaemic index or high glycaemic load may be associated with endometrial cancer risk overall, and particularly among obese women, premenopausal women and postmenopausal women who use hormone replacement therapy.
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