Taller women are more likely to develop ovarian cancer, new research suggests.

Researchers from Oxford University reviewed 47 previous studies that included 25,157 women with ovarian cancer and 83,311 without. They found that for every five centimetres in height, a woman was seven per cent more likely to develop the disease in her lifetime.

For instance, a woman who is 165cm tall is 14 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer than someone 155cm.

They also found that larger body size increased the risk, but this depending on whether women had used hormone replacement therapy or not.


Researcher Dr Gillian Reeves from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University said they don't know why height is linked to the cancer, but offered a number of explanations.

"The association that we see may be due to the biological effects of factors associated with height such as increased levels of insulin growth factor, (which has been associated with a number of other cancers such as breast and prostate cancer)," Dr Reeves said in a statement.

"Or increased numbers of cells at risk of becoming cancerous.

"Future studies should clarify this."

The study is published in the journal PLoS Medicine.