Several epidemiological studies have evaluated the association between calcium intake and the risk of ovarian cancer. However, the results of these studies remain controversial. Thus, we performed a meta-analysis to explore the association between calcium intake and the risk of ovarian cancer. Pubmed, Embase and Web of Science were searched for eligible publications up to April 2017. Pooled relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the random-effects model. Small-study effect was estimated using Egger’s test and the funnel plot. Among 15 epidemiological studies involving 493,415 participants and 7453 cases eligible for this meta-analysis, 13 studies were about dietary calcium intake, 4 studies about dairy calcium intake and 7 studies about dietary plus supplemental calcium intake. When comparing the highest with the lowest intake, the pooled RRs of ovarian cancer were 0.80 (95% CI 0.72–0.89) for dietary calcium, 0.80 (95% CI 0.66–0.98) for dairy calcium and 0.90 (95% CI 0.65–1.24) for dietary plus supplemental calcium, respectively. Dietary calcium was significantly associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer among cohort studies (RR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.74–0.99) and among case-control studies (RR
= 0.75, 95% CI 0.64–0.89). In subgroup analysis by ovarian cancer subtypes, we found a statistically significant association between the dietary calcium (RR
= 0.78, 95% CI 0.69–0.88) and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). This meta-analysis indicated that increased calcium intake might be inversely associated with the risk of ovarian cancer; this still needs to be confirmed by larger prospective cohort studies.
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