Epithelial ovarian carcinoma and European birthplace of grandparents

S. Harlap, S. Olson, A. Akhmedkhanov, R. R. Barakat, T. Caputo, D. Sanchez, X. Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective. The aim of this study was to determine whether the risk of ovarian carcinoma was related to latitude or to genetically based patterns of European geographic origin. Patients and methods. We studied the countries of origin of European-born grandparents of 168 newly diagnosed patients in two hospitals in New York City, compared with 159 controls from similar neighborhoods. We measured the risk of this cancer associated with having one or more white, non-Jewish grandparents born in North Europe versus none or in South Europe versus none. We also classified geographic origins in other ways to reflect the two main trends in genetic variations between Europeans mapped by Cavalli-Sforza et al. (The History and Geography of Human Genes, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994). Unconditional logistic regression was used to control for age, parity, years of use of oral contraception, age at menarche, education, Catholic religion, and area of residence and for numbers of Jewish grandparents, siblings, and first-degree relatives with breast or ovarian cancer. Results. Approximately half of the subjects had least one white, non-Jewish grandparent born in Europe. There was no significant effect of ancestral latitude: among women born in the United States the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence limits associated with North European ancestry were 0.87 (0.47-1.63) compared with a reference group of women with no such ancestry. The corresponding OR for South Europe was 0.73 (0.39-1.74). Using the genetically based classifications of countries of origin, however, we found significant differences between cases and controls; ancestries from North West Europe and those from countries concentrically near Spain showed lower risks of ovarian carcinoma. Conclusions. The results support the hypothesis that the previously observed effects of latitude must act through environmental effects or through gene - environment interactions. Other variations in risk related to geographic origins are consistent with known patterns of genetic differences, but require confirmation in larger, population-based studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Case-control studies
  • Ethnic groups
  • Europe
  • Latitude
  • Migrants
  • Ovary neoplasms
  • Polymorphisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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