Use of fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer: Danish Population Based Cohort Study

Danish Cancer Society, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 17.45). 02/2009; 338(feb05 2):b249. DOI: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000349781.28386.c8
Source: PubMed


To examine the effects of fertility drugs on overall risk of ovarian cancer using data from a large cohort of infertile women.
Population based cohort study.
Danish hospitals and private fertility clinics.
54,362 women with infertility problems referred to all Danish fertility clinics during 1963-98. The median age at first evaluation of infertility was 30 years (range 16-55 years), and the median age at the end of follow-up was 47 (range 18-81) years. Included in the analysis were 156 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (cases) and 1241 subcohort members identified in the cohort during follow-up in 2006.
Effect of four groups of fertility drugs (gonadotrophins, clomifene citrate, human chorionic gonadotrophin, and gonadotrophin releasing hormone) on overall risk of ovarian cancer after adjustment for potential confounding factors.
Analyses within cohort showed no overall increased risk of ovarian cancer after any use of gonadotrophins (rate ratio 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.50 to 1.37), clomifene (1.14, 0.79 to 1.64), human chorionic gonadotrophin (0.89, 0.62 to 1.29), or gonadotrophin releasing hormone (0.80, 0.42 to 1.51). Furthermore, no associations were found between all four groups of fertility drugs and number of cycles of use, length of follow-up, or parity.
No convincing association was found between use of fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer.

Download full-text


Available from: Susanne Kjaer,
    • "maternal fertility status) by linkage to the Danish Infertility Cohort, using the maternal PIN. This cohort was established in 1997 and has been described in detail elsewhere (Jensen et al., 2009). In brief, the cohort consists of all women referred to private fertility clinics or public gynaecological hospitals in the period 1963 – 1998, all women with a diagnosis of infertility (codes 628 and N97, ICD-8 and ICD-10, respectively) recorded in the National Patient Registry in the period 1977 –2009 and all women in the Danish IVF registry in the period 1994 – 2005. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Is the risk of hospital admission or outpatient contact for mental disorders increased in children born to women with fertility problems compared with children born to women without fertility problems? We found an increased risk of hospital admission or outpatient contact for mental disorders in children born to women with fertility problems. Few studies have investigated the risk of mental disorders in children born after fertility treatment and although some studies have pointed to an increased risk, others found no association. The inconsistent results may be due to methodological constraints in many previous studies, including small sample size and short follow-up, resulting in imprecise risk estimates and lack of information on risk patterns of mental disorders in adulthood. This nationwide retrospective register-based cohort study included all 2 412 721 children born in Denmark between 1969 and 2006. All children were followed from date of birth until date of hospital contact for a mental disorder, date of emigration, date of death or 31 December 2009, whichever occurred first. Information concerning maternal fertility status for all children in the cohort was obtained by linkage to the Danish Infertility Cohort, which contains data on nearly all women with fertility problems in Denmark since 1963. A total of 124 269 (5%) children were born to women with fertility problems and 2 288 452 (95%) to women without fertility problems. To identify children hospitalized for a mental disorder, the cohort was linked to the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Registry. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between maternal fertility status and the risk of hospital admission or outpatient contact for various groups of mental disorders, including any mental disorder and all 11 main discharge diagnostic groups, classified according to the International Classification of Diseases, version 10. During a mean follow-up period of 21 years (range, 0-40 years), 168 686 (7%) children were admitted to hospital or had an outpatient contact for a mental disorder. Children born to women with fertility problems had a significantly higher risk of any mental disorder (HR 1.23; 95% CI 1.20-1.26) and for most of the 11 main discharge groups, including schizophrenia (HR 1.16; 95% CI 1.07-1.27), mood (affective) disorders (HR 1.21; 95% CI 1.15-1.28) and disorders of psychological development (HR 1.15; 95% CI 1.09-1.21) as well as the subgroup of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (HR 1.36; 95% CI 1.29-1.45) compared with children born to women without fertility problems. The risk estimates did not change markedly when analyses were performed separately for mental disorders diagnosed during childhood (0-19 years) and in young adulthood (20-40 years). The true risk of mental disorders may be somewhat underestimated, as only severe disorders requiring hospital admission or outpatient contact were considered as events. Furthermore, we could not determine whether the increased risks observed were due to factors related to the underlying infertility or to fertility treatment procedures. This is the first report on mental disorders in adulthood among children born to women with fertility problems. Furthermore, we have assessed the risk of several severe mental disorders not previously studied (e.g. neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders and disorders of adult personality and behaviour). These important findings should be investigated further in large epidemiological studies designed to differentiate between factors related to fertility treatment and to the underlying infertility. The study was supported by internal funding from the Unit of Virus, Lifestyle and Genes at the Danish Cancer Society Research Center. All authors report no conflicts of interest. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Human Reproduction 07/2015; 30(9). DOI:10.1093/humrep/dev172 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Jensen et al. [28] identified 156 ovarian cancer cases, through a linkage with the Danish Cancer Registry. The authors did not suggest an increased ovarian cancer risk associated with the use of gonadotropins (RR 0.83; 95% CI: 0.50-1.37), "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several adverse effects have been related to infertility treatments, such as cancer development. In particular, the relationship between infertility, reproductive strategies, and risk of gynecological cancers has aroused much interest in recent years. The evaluation of cancer risk among women treated for infertility is very complex, mainly because of many factors that can contribute to occurrence of cancer in these patients (including parity status). This article addresses the possible association between the use of fertility treatments and the risk of ovarian cancer, through a scrupulous search of the literature published thus far in this field. Our principal objective was to give more conclusive answers on the question whether the use of fertility drug significantly increases ovarian cancer risk. Our analysis focused on the different types of drugs and different treatment schedules used. This study provides additional insights regarding the long-term relationships between fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer.
    Journal of Ovarian Research 05/2014; 7(1):51. DOI:10.1186/1757-2215-7-51 · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Ovarian stimulation for IVF may increase the risk of ovarian malignancies, especially BOT (van Leeuwen et al., 2011). Other studies showed no significant increase in risk of ovarian malignancies after IVF treatment (Jensen et al., 2009; Yli-Kuha et al., 2012). It might be that specific causes of subfertility predispose for ovarian cancer and/or BOT. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Is ovarian or extra-ovarian endometriosis associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer and borderline ovarian tumours (BOT)? We found a 3- to 8-fold increased risk of ovarian tumours associated with endometriosis: the magnitude of the risk increase depended on the definition of endometriosis. There is increasing evidence of an association between endometriosis and increased risk of ovarian cancer. However, most reports were based on self-reported diagnosis of endometriosis. We conducted a nationwide historic cohort study among women with subfertility problems between 1980 and 1995. For this analysis we selected all cohort members with endometriosis, and a comparison group of subfertile women (male factor or idiopathic) without endometriosis (total cohort of 8904 women). Median follow-up time was 15.2 for the entire study population. For this analysis we selected all cohort members with (n = 3657) and without (n = 5247) evidence of endometriosis. Seventy-eight per cent of diagnoses of endometriosis were confirmed by pathology report, and 22% was self-reported endometriosis (positive predictive value of 73%). We linked the cohort with the Dutch Pathology Database and the Netherlands Cancer Registry to assess the occurrence of ovarian cancer and BOT between January 1989 and June 2007. We observed a substantially increased risk of all ovarian malignancies combined in women with endometriosis when we based the definition of endometriosis on self-report, medical records information at subfertility treatment and/or the nationwide pathology database (hazard ratio (HR) 8.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.1-21.6). The HR associated with endometriosis was 12.4 (95% CI 2.8-54.2) for ovarian cancer and 5.5 (95% CI 1.5-20.2) for BOT. When we excluded information from the pathology database, HRs were 3.0 (95% CI 1.5-6.1) for all ovarian tumours, 4.3 (95% CI 1.6-11.2) for ovarian cancer and 1.9 (95% CI 0.6-5.8) for BOT. Both ovarian and extra-ovarian endometriosis carried a significantly increased risk for ovarian cancer and BOT. We did not have information on oral contraceptive use and parity for 23.4 and 3.4%, of women in the analytic cohort, respectively. Furthermore, a limitation of our study, and also of other studies, is that the date of diagnosis of endometriosis is usually made long after the onset of the disease. Also, the number of cases in the cohort is small (n = 34), resulting in wide CIs. The fact that endometriosis was assessed before diagnosis of ovarian malignancy and the high degree of medical confirmation in our study likely contribute to the validity of our estimate of a 3- to 8-fold increased risk of ovarian tumours associated with endometriosis. The risk of ovarian malignancies associated with endometriosis was much higher in analyses including information on endometriosis from the nationwide pathology database, implying that risk estimates from studies using self-reported information on endometriosis may be too low due to non-differential misclassification bias. None. None.
    Human Reproduction 09/2013; 125(12):S10–S11. DOI:10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.12.021 · 4.57 Impact Factor
Show more