Reducing the Risk: Folic acid lowers risk of ovarian cancer

Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that has been shown to play an important role in DNA synthesis and repair. Previous studies have shown that a low intake of folic acid may be associated with an increased risk of breast and colorectal cancer, especially among alcohol drinkers. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and the Harvard School of Public Health examined data from 61,084 women to examine the association between dietary folic acid intake and the incidence of epithelial ovarian cancer.

They found that dietary folic acid intake was inversely associated with epithelial ovarian cancer risk. Among women who consumed more than two alcoholic drinks per week, those with the highest intake had a 74% lower risk of epithelial ovarian cancer compared with those with the lowest intake. There was no association between dietary folic acid intake and ovarian cancer risk among women who consumed less than two alcoholic drinks per week.

“Additional studies are needed to determine the generalizability of our results to other populations that have higher [folic acid] intakes and to evaluate the efficacy and safety of high doses…from supplements with respect to cancer,” the authors write.

Karolinska Institute, Mar 3, 2004