Female hormone utilisation and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma

A. Tavani, E. Negri, F. Parazzini, S. Franceschi, C. La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between female hormone use and primary liver cancer was analysed using data from a case-control study conducted between 1984 and 1992 in Milan on 82 female incident cases with histologically or serologically confirmed hepatocellular carcinoma and 368 controls admitted to hospital for acute non-neoplastic, non-hormone-related diseases. An elevated relative risk (RR) or primary liver cancer was observed in oral contraceptive (OC) users (RR 2.6, for ever versus users, 95% confidence interval, CI 1.0-7.0). The RR was directly related to duration of use (RR 1.5 for ≤ 5 years and 3.9 for > 5 years) and persisted for longer than 10 years after stopping use (RR 4.3%, 95% CI 1.0-18.2). The RR were below unity, although not significantly, for women ever using oestrogen replacement therapy (RR 0.2, 95% CI 0.03-1.5) and female hormones for indications other than contraception and menopausal therapy (RR 0.4, 95% CI 0.1-1.5). The long-lasting, association between risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and OC use has potential implications on a public health scale, since primary liver cancer is a relatively rare disease among young women, but much more common at older ages. This study provides limited but reassuring evidence on the possible relationship between oestrogen replacement treatment and subsequent risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-637
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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