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Gastroenterology. 2000 Mar;118(3):560-4.

Oral contraceptive use and focal nodular hyperplasia of the liver.

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Department of Radiology, Henri Mondor Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, and Paris 12 University, Créteil, France.

Erratum in

  • Gastroenterology 2000 Jul;119(1):280.



Because most patients with focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) are young women, an important decision is whether to discontinue oral contraceptive (OC) use. The aims of this study were to evaluate (1) the number and size of FNH lesions in women with various patterns of OC use and in women without OC use and (2) the modifications in the number and size of FNH lesions during follow-up, according to OC use.


In a 9-year study in 216 women with FNH, the diameter and number of lesions documented by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were evaluated (1) at diagnosis according to OC use as follows: group A, no OC use (n = 28); group B, high-dose OC use (n = 46); group C, low-dose OC use (n = 98); group D, successive use of high-dose and low-dose OCs (n = 33); and group E, use of progestogens only (n = 11); and (2) during follow-up in 136 women, 14 of whom were OC nonusers who stayed off OCs, 89 discontinued OC use, 26 took low-dose OCs, and 7 stayed on a progestogen only. Twelve women became pregnant. In 168 women, the diagnosis of FNH was made based on a combination of rigorously defined MR criteria. In the remaining 48 patients, diagnosis was by surgical biopsy (n = 36) or resection (n = 12). Mean diameter and number of lesion(s) per patient were assessed by MR imaging using the same protocol in all study patients.


No significant differences in the number or size of lesions were found in the 5 patient groups. During follow-up, a change in lesion diameter occurred in only 4 women; this event was not influenced by OC use. In the 12 patients who became pregnant, lesion size was unchanged after delivery, pregnancy was uneventful, and delivery occurred spontaneously.


These data suggest that (1) neither the size nor the number of FNH lesions are influenced by OC use; (2) size changes during follow-up are rare and do not seem to depend on OC use; and (3) pregnancy is not associated with FNH changes or complications.

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