Oral contraceptives and the risk of endometrial cancer

Fabio Levi, Crrlo La Vecchia, Cristina Gulie, Eva Negri, Véronique Monnier, Silvia Franceschi, Jean Francois Delaloye, Pierre De Grandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between the use of combbination oral contraceptives (OCs) and the risk of endometrial cancer was assessed in a case-control study conducted in the Swiss Canton of Vaud between 1 January 1988 and 31 July 1990. Subjects included 122 women aged 75 or less with histologically confirmed endometrial cancer, and 309 control women in hospital for acute conditions unrelated to OC use. Overall, 14 percent of cases and 27 percent of controls had ever used OCs, corresponding to a multivariate relative risk (RR) of 0.5 (95 percent confidence interval [CI]: 0.3. 0.8). The risk of endometrial cancer was found to be related inversely to duration of OC use: RR=1.0 for less than two years of OC use; 0.5 for two to five years; and 0.3 (95 percent CI: 0.1, 0.7) for more than five years. The protection appeared greater within 20 years since last use, and the RR rose to 0.8 after 20 or more years since last use; numbers are too small, however, for reliable inference from these subanalyses. No significant interaction or modifying effect was observed with other major factors related to endometrial cancer, including parity, body mass index, estrogen replacement therapy, and cigarette smoking. While this study provides further evidence for the protective effect of OCs against risk of endometrial cancer, the relationship requires continued evaluation to assess the long-term implications and public health impact of OC use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


  • Case-control study
  • endometrial cancer
  • oral contraceptives
  • Switzerland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology
  • Cancer Research


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