BackgroundObservational studies suggest greater height is associated with increased ovarian cancer risk, but cannot exclude bias and/or confounding as explanations for this. Mendelian randomisation (MR) can provide evidence which may be less prone to bias.
MethodsWe pooled data from 39 Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium studies (16,395 cases; 23,003 controls). We applied two-stage predictor-substitution MR, using a weighted genetic risk score combining 609 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Study-specific odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between genetically predicted height and risk were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.
ResultsGreater genetically predicted height was associated with increased ovarian cancer risk overall (pooled-OR (pOR) = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11 per 5 cm increase in height), and separately for invasive (pOR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01-1.11) and borderline (pOR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.02-1.29) tumours.
ConclusionsWomen with a genetic propensity to being taller have increased risk of ovarian cancer. This suggests genes influencing height are involved in pathways promoting ovarian carcinogenesis.