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Ann Intern Med. 1976 Jul;85(1):122-3.

Editorial: Systemic contraceptives and liver tumors.



Since 1973 more than 100 cases of benign liver tumors occuring in association with oral contraceptive (OC) use have been reported. These tumors have varied in histologic appearance. Recent reports have identified 5 women with hepatocellular carcinoma nad 1 with hepatoblastoma occurring in association with use of systemic contraceptives. Before 1960 these tumors were rare. There are probably a larger number of unrecognized cases as many patients with these tumors have been asymptomatic. A significant difference in duration of OC use by patients and controls has been noted (p more than .01). The mean duration of OC use of 6 years before clinical appearance of liver cell adrenomas has been determined. The number of women entering the high-risk group for formation of liver cell adenomas may increase in the future. Unresectable tumors have been observed to decrease in size when OCs habe been discontinued and such tumors have recurred in patients in whom OC use was continued after resection. Other factors may also be important. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) has instituted an epidemiologic survey that will review cases of hepatocellular tumors occurring in young women. Physicians may refer documented cases to Dr. Kamal G. Ishak at AFIP in Washington, D.C. A national registry for these tumors is recommended to establish the magnitude of the problem. Basic research into the effects of OCs on liver structure is needed. Funding agencies are urged to cooperate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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