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Preeclampsia: a risk factor for cancer?

Having had preeclampsia may increase one's overall risk of cancer and increase the threat of specific malignancies, including stomach, breast, ovary, lung, and larynx cancer, according to follow-up data of the Jerusalem perinatal study cohort. But whether the relationship is causal or a reflection of the fact that environmental and genetic factors are common to the development of both conditions in Middle Eastern populations is unknown.

The study included data on just over 37,000 women. Preeclampsia was recorded in 1,070 women. Cancer developed in 91 of the women who had preeclampsia and in 2,204 of those who did not.

The age-adjusted hazard ratiofor cancer at any site after preeclampsia was 1.27, for stomach cancer was 3.1, for breast cancer was 1.38, for ovarian cancer was 2.32, and for cancer of the lung/larynx was 2.81.

Paltiel O, Friedlander Y, Tiram E, et al. Cancer after pre-eclampsia: follow up of the Jerusalem perinatal study cohort. BMJ. 2004;328:919-921.