Oral contraceptives and breast cancer in Northern Italy. Final report from a case-control study

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

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To assess the relation between oral contraceptive (OC) use and breast cancer, we analysed data from a case-control study conducted in Northern Italy between 1983 and 1991 on 2,309 cases below age 60 and 1,928 controls admitted to hospital for acute diseases unrelated to OC use and to any of the known or potential risk factors for breast cancer. OC use was reported by 16% of cases and 14% of controls. The multivariate relative risk (RR) for ever vs never use of combination OC was 1.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-1.4). However, there was no trend in risk with duration. The RR was elevated for very short use, but declined to 0.8 (95% CI = 0.5-1.0) for five or more years' use. No noteworthy relationship was found for other major measures of OC use, although RR estimates were above unity for women who had stopped use less than 5 years before (RR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.0), started use less than 10 years before (RR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.0-1.9), started when 25 or more years old (RR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1-1.7), or after first birth (RR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.0-1.5). No interaction was observed between OC use and family history of breast cancer, parity and age at first birth. A separate analysis of 373 cases and 456 control below age 40 showed no association with ever use (RR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.6-1.2).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-571
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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