Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Dec;16(12):2548-56.

Menopausal hormone therapy and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Author information

  • 1Program in Epidemiology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98108-1024, USA.


Substantial increase in the use of menopausal hormone therapy (HT) throughout the 1990s, followed by widespread discontinuation after the 2002 publication of the Women's Health Initiative findings, has resulted in large numbers of former HT users among U.S. women. However, few studies have examined whether ovarian cancer risk varies according to recency and duration of specific HT regimens. We assessed risk of epithelial ovarian cancer among users of unopposed estrogen (ET) and combined estrogen/progestogen (EPT). In a population-based study in Washington state, 812 women with ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2002 to 2005 and 1,313 controls were interviewed in person about the use of HT and other characteristics. Women who used a single form of therapy (ET or EPT) were compared with women who never used HT using logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Risk was increased among current or recent (within the last 3 years) users of ET with > or = 5 years of use (ORs, 95% CIs: 1.6, 1.1-2.5 and 1.8, 0.8-3.7, respectively). Little increase in risk was noted among long-term ET users who discontinued use in the more distant past (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.6-2.6). No increase in risk was noted among women who used only EPT, regardless of duration. Compared with women who never used HT, current users of EPT had an OR of 1.1 (95% CI, 0.8-1.5), and risk declined with increasing time since stopping; the OR was 0.7 (95% CI, 0.4-1.0) among women who had discontinued EPT within the last 3 years and 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3-0.7) among women who stopped at an earlier point. Long-term ET may be associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk that wanes after use ceases. We did not observe an increased risk with EPT, and with increasing time after stopping, a reduction in risk became increasingly evident. The progestogen component of HT may confer a risk reduction that is masked by an opposing effect of estrogen until, among former users, estrogenic influences have diminished. These findings, if replicated, may have implications both for public health and development of chemoprevention strategies.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center