Serum Calcium Is a Possible Biomarker of Ovarian Cancer

High serum calcium associated with increased ovarian cancer risk in two large cohorts

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- High serum calcium levels are associated with a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in Gynecologic Oncology.

Gary G. Schwartz, Ph.D., from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Halcyon G. Skinner, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES III) to analyze the association between total and ionized serum calcium and ovarian cancer mortality. They also used data from the NHANES Epidemiological Follow-up Study (NHEFS) to analyze the association of serum calcium with incident ovarian cancer.

The researchers found that in NHANES III there were 11 ovarian cancer deaths over 95,556 person-years of follow-up. After adjusting for other variables, the risk of fatal ovarian cancer increased with increasing calcium, with a relative hazard of 1.52 for each 0.1 mmol/L increase in total serum calcium and a relative hazard of 2.44 for each 0.1 mmol/L increase in ionized serum calcium. These correlations persisted after adjustment for nulliparity and oral contraceptive use. In NHEFS there were eight incident ovarian cancers over 31,089 person-years of follow-up. After adjusting for other variables, the relative hazard of ovarian cancer was 1.63 for each 0.1 mmol/L increase in total serum calcium.

"In summary, in this biomarker discovery study, we found that higher levels of calcium in serum were significantly positively associated with the risk of ovarian cancer in two prospective cohorts," Schwartz and Skinner conclude.

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