Weight gain and other anthropometric measures on the risk of ovarian cancer for women with BRCA mutations are not known. We conducted a prospective analysis of weight change since age 18, height, body mass index (BMI) at age 18, and current BMI and the risk of developing ovarian cancer among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
In this prospective cohort study, height, weight, and weight at age 18 were collected at study enrollment. Weight was updated biennially. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for ovarian cancer.
This study followed 4,340 women prospectively. There were 121 incident cases of ovarian cancer. Weight gain of more than 20 kg since age 18 was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of ovarian cancer, compared with women who maintained a stable weight (HR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.13–3.54; P = 0.02). Current BMI of 26.5 kg/m2 or greater was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer in BRCA1 mutation carriers, compared with those with a BMI less than 20.8 kg/m2 (Q4 vs. Q1 HR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.04–4.36; P = 0.04). There were no significant associations between height or BMI at age 18 and risk of ovarian cancer.
Adult weight gain is a risk factor for ovarian cancer in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
These findings emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight throughout adulthood in women at high risk for ovarian cancer.