A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology provides new insight into previously established research that oral contraceptive use is connected to lower ovarian cancer risk in the general population, by more closely examining the link among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Scientists have long known that oral contraceptive use, particularly long-term use, is associated with an approximately 50% reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Whether this same correlation in risk reduction applied to BRCA mutation carriers was unknown, as prior studies did not specifically analyze groups with BRCA mutations.
This international retrospective study, conducted by the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, followed a cohort of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers to track length of time they used oral contraceptives, and if they developed ovarian cancer.
Results showed an inverse relationship between development of ovarian cancer, and oral contraceptive use. Oral contraceptives were used less often by mutation carriers who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, than by unaffected carriers. For those who did develop ovarian cancer, the median length of time oral contraceptives were used was 7 years. For those who did not develop ovarian cancer in the time of the study, the median length of time of use was 8-9 years. Results also suggest that protection received by oral contraceptive use is long-term, with links between oral contraceptive use and remaining unaffected lasting 10-15 years since last use.
Read the abstract in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and an article in Medical Xpress, and learn more about ovarian cancer risk factors and ways to reduce risk.
More information about oral contraceptives and ovarian cancer:
- Oral Contraceptives Tied to Lower Long-Term Ovarian Cancer Risk
- Age When Giving Birth and Oral Contraceptives Influence One’s Risk of Ovarian Cancer