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Energy restriction during childhood and early adulthood and ovarian cancer risk

Author: Schouten, L.J. · Dijk, B.A.C. van · Lumey, L. · Goldbohm, R.A. · Brandt, P.A. van den
Source:PLoS ONE, 11, 6
Identifier: 445723
Article number: e27960
Keywords: Health · adulthood · aged · caloric restriction · cancer risk · childhood · cohort analysis · controlled study · disease association · eating habit · employment · father · female · follow up · hazard ratio · human · hunger · major clinical study · multivariate analysis · Netherlands · ovary cancer · questionnaire · risk assessment · risk factor · risk reduction · unemployment · urban rural difference · war · Healthy Living · Human · LS - Life Style · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


Dietary energy restriction may protect against cancer. In parts of the Netherlands, mostly in larger cities, periods of chronically impaired nutrition and even severe famine (Hunger Winter 1944-1945) existed during the 1930s and World War II (1940-1945). We studied the association between energy restriction during childhood and early adulthood on the risk of ovarian cancer later in life. In 1986, the Netherlands Cohort Study was initiated. A self-administered questionnaire on dietary habits and other cancer risk factors was completed by 62,573 women aged 55-69 years at baseline. Follow-up for cancer was established by record linkage to the Netherlands Cancer Registry. After 16.3 years of follow-up, 364 invasive epithelial ovarian cancer cases and 2220 subcohort members (sampled from the total cohort directly after baseline) with complete information confounders were available for case-cohort analyses. In multivariable analysis, ovarian cancer risk was lower for participants with an unemployed father during the 1930s (Hazard Ratio (HR), 0.70; 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 0.47-1.06) compared to participants with an employed father as well as for participants living in a city during World War II (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54-0.90) compared to participants living in the country-side. Residence in a Western City during the famine (Hunger Winter) was not associated with a decreased risk. Our results show a relation between proxy variables for modest energy restriction over a longer period of time during childhood or early adulthood and a reduced ovarian cancer risk. © 2011 Schouten et al.