Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

AACR 2019: Can Use of Oral Contraceptives Protect Against Aggressive Ovarian Cancer?

By: Melissa E. Fryman, MS
Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Oral contraceptive use seems to protect against the most aggressive and deadliest forms of ovarian cancer, according to a study led by Kirsten B. Moysich, PhD, of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. Data from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium were used in reportedly the first study to examine the association between oral contraceptives and fatal subtypes of ovarian cancer. The study findings were presented at the 2019 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Atlanta (Abstract 641).

“The longer the history of oral contraceptive use, the greater the protection we observed in terms of reduced chance of dying from aggressive ovarian cancer,” said initial author Jennifer M. Mongiovi, a PhD candidate working with Dr. Moysich at Roswell Park, in an institutional press release. “This association…varies by histological subtype and was found most protective for highly fatal endometrioid ovarian cancers.”

In this multicenter study, pooled data from 20 case-controlled studies were analyzed using unconditional logistic regression. Women who died within 12 and 18 months of diagnosis were matched with controls (579 with 2,279 and 1,294 with 5,095 women, respectively).

The authors found that any use of oral contraceptive led to a 46% decrease in the likelihood of death within 12 months. For women who had used oral contraceptives for more than 10 years, a 66% decrease in likelihood was seen; conversely, no benefit was seen in women who had taken oral contraceptives for less than 1 year. This trend was also applicable when looking at women who died within 18 months of diagnosis.

“Our results provide strong evidence that this is an area worthy of further study so that we can better understand the mechanisms behind this association and identify specific groups of people who may benefit most from this chemopreventive strategy,” concluded Dr. Moysich.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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