No Association between Fertility Drugs and Ovarian Cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to the results of a new study published in BMJ, there is no convincing association between ovarian cancer and fertility drugs.

Concerns about hormones taken to increase fertility in women have persisted for several decades. Past studies linking fertility drugs to ovarian cancer have been conflicting.

The current study analyzed data from a large population of infertile Danish women. The study included 54362 women who were referred to fertility clinics between 1963 and 1968. The researchers looked at the incidence of ovarian cancer, in association with four fertility drugs - gonadotrophins, clomifene citrate, human chorionic gonadotrophin, and gonadotrophin releasing hormone. Average age of the women was 30 at the start of the study, and age 47 when it ended. Included in the study were 145 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer.

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The researchers found no association between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer, after adjusting for all of the women's risk factors.

The study authors plan to continue monitoring the women. Ovarian cancer usually affects women age 60 to 70. The women studied have not reached the age when ovarian cancer is most often diagnosed.

Women who wish to conceive later in life should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of using fertility drugs and pregnancy say the authors.

The new study found no significant risk of ovarian cancer from fertility drugs.

Abstract: Use of fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer: Danish population based cohort study