Fertility treatment not an ovarian cancer risk

Oct 24, 2013

Fertility treatment isn’t linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer, according to a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported study spanning nearly two decades and published in Fertility and Sterility.

 

Fertility treatment isn’t linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer, according to a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported study spanning nearly two decades and published in Fertility and Sterility.

Researchers from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the NCI analyzed data from 9825 women seen for infertility at 5 large practices in the United States from 1965 to 1988. Researchers followed women who developed ovarian cancer (n=85) for an average of 17.6 years and women who did not develop cancer for an average of 26.2 years.

Among the cohort, no association was seen between ovarian cancer and clomiphene citrate (CC) (adjusted hazard ratio [RR] 1.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.86-2.07) or gonadotropins (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.48-2.08). No evidence was found to suggest an increased risk among the detailed subgroups of usage with one exception. Women who used CC and remained nulligravid demonstrated a significantly higher risk than those who conceived when compared with nonusers (RR 3.63, 95% CI 1.35 -9.72 versus RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.47-1.63).

The authors cautioned that the study evaluated the way drugs were used in the 1970s and 1980s, meaning that the findings could be of limited use for current treatment decisions because drug exposure then was  significantly less. It also remains unclear, they said, why women who used CC and remained nulligravid were at higher risk of developing cancer, and urged further study.

 

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