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Coffee & Health

Lifetime caffeine intake and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer

A Grundy et al,
Cancer Epidemiology, published online
November 22, 2021



Caffeine intake has been inconsistently associated with the risk of ovarian cancer in previous studies. The measure of caffeine in these studies has not always distinguished between caffeinated and decaffeinated sources, and the time for which intake was assessed was often for late adulthood and thus may have excluded the etiologic window. We investigated lifetime caffeine intake from caffeinated coffee, black tea, green tea and cola sodas in relation to ovarian cancer risk.


Among 497 cases and 904 controls in a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Canada, lifetime intake of caffeinated coffee, black tea, green tea and cola sodas was assessed and used to calculate lifetime total intake of caffeine. Unconditional multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between caffeine intake and ovarian cancer risk overall, as well as by menopausal status. Multivariable polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate the associations for invasive and borderline ovarian cancers separately.


Almost all participants (98.4% of cases and 97.5% of controls) had consumed caffeine in their lifetime. The mean (standard deviation) daily consumption of caffeine over the lifetime was of 117 (89) mg/day among cases and 120 (118) mg/day among controls. The OR (95% CI) of ovarian cancer for the highest versus lowest quartile of lifetime caffeine intake was 1.17 (0.83-1.64). According to menopausal status, the OR (95% CI) was 1.56 (0.85-2.86) for premenopausal women and 0.94 (0.66-1.34) for postmenopausal women, comparing the highest to lowest tertiles of intake. Associations for invasive and borderline ovarian cancers separately were similar to that observed for ovarian cancer overall.


Lifetime caffeine intake was not strongly associated with ovarian cancer risk. A difference in relationship by menopausal status is possible.

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