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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 May;19(5):1269-75. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-1221. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Perineal use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Several studies have reported a positive association between perineal use of talcum powder among adult women and ovarian cancer risk. However, the relationship between talcum powder use and other gynecologic malignancies such as endometrial cancer has not been examined, and little information is available on nonhormonal risk factors for endometrial cancer.


Perineal use of talcum powder was assessed in 1982 in the Nurses' Health Study. Approximately 40% of women who responded to the questions about perineal use of talcum powder reported ever use. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the incidence rate ratio of endometrial cancer and 95% confidence interval (CI), adjusted for body mass index and other potential confounders. We evaluated the relationship among all women and stratified by menopausal status.


Our analysis included 66,028 women with 599 incident cases of invasive endometrial adenocarcinoma diagnosed between 1982 and 2004. Although no association was observed overall, the association varied by menopausal status (P interaction=0.02) and a positive association was observed among postmenopausal women; ever use of talcum powder was associated with a 21% increase in risk of endometrial cancer (95% CI, 1.02-1.44), whereas regular use (at least once a week) was associated with a 24% increase in risk (95% CI, 1.03-1.48). In addition, we observed a borderline increase in risk with increasing frequency of use (P trend=0.04).


Our results suggest that perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women.


Future and larger studies are needed to confirm this association and investigate potential mechanisms.

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