Some epidemiological studies suggest an association between genital use of talc powders and increased risk of ovarian cancer, but the evidence is not consistent. We performed a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies to formally evaluate this suspected association. A systematic search was conducted in Medline, Embase and Scopus, leading to the identification of 24 case-control studies and 3 cohort studies, including 302,705 women with ovarian cancer. In the meta-analysis, we used a random-effect model to calculate summary estimates of the association between genital use of talc and occurrence of ovarian cancer. We assessed potential sources of between-study heterogeneity and presence of publication bias. The summary relative risk (RR) for ever use of genital talc and ovarian cancer was 1.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-1.30). The RR for case-control studies was 1.26 (95% CI 1.17-1.35) and for cohort studies was 1.02 (95% CI 0.85-1.20, p heterogeneity=0.007). Serous carcinoma was the only histologic type for which an association was detected (RR 1.24; 95% CI 1.15-1.34). There was no trend in RR with either duration or frequency of genital talc use. This meta-analysis resulted in a weak but statistically significant association between genital use of talc and ovarian cancer, which appears to be limited to serous carcinoma. The heterogeneity of results by study design and the lack of a trend for duration and frequency of use, however, detract from a causal interpretation of this association.
Note: This abstract was not presented at the meeting.
Citation Format: Paolo Boffetta, Wera Berge. Genital use of talc and risk of ovarian cancer: A meta-analysis [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 2301. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-2301