Oral contraceptives and breast cancer: A cooperative Italian study

C. La Vecchia, E. Negri, S. Franceschi, R. Talamini, D. Amadori, R. Filiberti, E. Conti, M. Montella, A. Veronesi, F. Parazzini, M. Ferraroni, A. Decarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between oral contraceptives (OC) and breast-cancer risk was analysed using data from a case-control study conducted between June 1991 and February 1994 in 6 Italian centres on 1,991 patients below age 65 with histologically confirmed incident breast cancer and 1,899 controls admitted to hospital for a wide range of acute, non-neoplastic, nonhormone-related diseases. 'Ever OC use' was reported by 18% of cases versus 14% of controls, corresponding to a multivariate odds ratio (OR) of 1.1 (95% confidence interval, CI 0.9 to 1.4). The ORs were 1.3 for use lasting <1 year, 1.1 for 1 to 4 years, 0.9 for 5 to 8 years, and 1.2 for over 8 years. With reference to age at first use, there was some indication that the OR was elevated in women who had started use before age 30, but not in those starting at a later age. With reference to time since last OC use, the OR was above unity for women who had stopped for less than 10 years (1.6 for 1 to 4 years; 1.7 for 5 to 9 years), but the OR declined to unity for women who had stopped OC use for 10 years or longer. The OR for women who had stopped OC use for less than 10 years was consistently elevated across strata of selected covariates, and was directly related to the duration of use (OR 1.3 for <5 years, 1.7, for ≥5 years). In contrast, the OR was 0.6, for use lasting ≥ 5 years in women who had stopped for 10 years or more. The elevated OR for women who had recently stopped OC use, together with the absence of association (or the suggestion of some protection) for those who had stopped for 10 years or more is consistent with the pattern of breast-cancer risk observed after a full-term pregnancy, and provides important reassurance on a public health level on the long-term impact of OCs on breast carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Oral contraceptives and breast cancer: A cooperative Italian study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this