Higher Risk of Ovarian Clear Cell Cancer in Asian Pacific Islanders

February 14, 2020 10:00 am

The following article is provided by The Clearity Foundation to support women with ovarian cancer and their families. Learn more about The Clearity Foundation and the services we provide directly to women as they make treatment decisions and navigate emotional impacts of their diagnosis.

By Christina Bennett, MS

Regardless of birthplace, women who are Asian Pacific Islanders may have a higher risk of developing ovarian clear cell cancer compared with other ethnicities, according to a population-based retrospective cohort study. The findings were recently published in Gynecologic Oncology.

Using the 18 registries of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) dataset, 72,501 women registered with epithelial ovarian cancer from 1973 to 2013 were identified. Among these women, 5078 (7.0%) were diagnosed with ovarian clear cell cancer and 4859 (6.7%) were Asian Pacific Islanders, most of whom were born outside of the United States (70.8%).

Women who were Asian Pacific Islanders had an age-adjusted incidence rate of 0.55 per 100,000 women, which was higher than the rate for with women who were white (0.31/100,000 women), black (0.12/100,000 women), or American Indian (0.14/100,000 women).

Compared with white women, women who were Asian Pacific Islanders had a significantly higher incidence rate of ovarian clear cell cancer (relative risk [RR], 1.76; 95% CI, 1.65–1.93; <.001).

In contrast, women who were black (RR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.34–0.46; <.001) or American Indian (RR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.28–0.65; <.001) had a significantly lower incidence rate of ovarian clear cell cancer compared with white women.

Significantly more women who were Asian Pacific Islanders had ovarian clear cell cancer (14.5%) than women who were white (6.6%; RR, 2.18; <.0001) or black (4.3%; RR, 3.38; <.0001).

Asian Pacific Islanders who were born in the United States did not have a significantly different relative risk of ovarian clear cell cancer compared with those who were born outside of the United States (RR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9–1.3, =.56).

“Our study corroborates an increased incidence of ovarian clear cell histology in women of [Asian Pacific Islander] ethnicity in comparison to women of other ethnicities,” the study authors wrote.


Korenaga TR, Ward KK, Saenz C, McHale MT, Plaxe S. The elevated risk of ovarian clear cell carcinoma among Asian Pacific Islander women in the United States is not affected by birthplaceGynecol Oncol. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.01.034

This article was published by Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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