genital powder and risk of ovarian cancer

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • genital powder use has been associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer in some, but not all, epidemiologic investigations, possibly reflecting the carcinogenic effects of talc particles found in most of these products. Whether risk increases with number of genital powder applications and for all histologic types of ovarian cancer also remains uncertain

  • Terry KL et al (1) undertook a pooled case control analysis of use of genital powder and ovarian cancer risk:
    • genital powder use was associated with a modest increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer [OR, 1.24; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.15-1.33] relative to women who never used powder
    • risk was elevated for invasive serous (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.09-1.32), endometrioid (OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.04-1.43), and clear cell (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.01-1.52) tumors, and for borderline serous tumors (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.24-1.72)
    • among genital powder users, no significant trend was observed (P = 0.17) in risk with increasing number of lifetime applications (assessed in quartiles)
    • no increase in ovarian cancer risk among women who only reported nongenital powder use
    • genital powder use is a modifiable exposure associated with small-to-moderate increases in risk of most histologic subtypes of epithelial ovarian cancer