Reproductive and hormonal factors and ovarian cancer

F. Chiaffarino, C. Pelucchi, F. Parazzini, E. Negri, S. Franceschi, R. Talamini, E. Conti, M. Montella, C. L. Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Menstrual, reproductive and hormonal factors have been related to ovarian cancer risk, but further quantification of their role in various populations is required. Patients and methods: Cases were 1031 women, below age 79, with incident, histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer, and controls 2411 women, admitted between 1992 and 1999 to a network of hospitals in 4 Italian areas for acute, non-neoplastic, diseases. Odds ratios (OR) were obtained using multiple logistic regression. Results: Multiparity was associated with a significant reduction in risk of ovarian cancer (OR=0.6 for 3, and 0.5 for ≥ 4 births). No consistent association was observed with time since first or last birth, nor with spontaneous or induced abortions. Late age at menarche (OR=0.8), and early menopause (OR=0.6) were inversely related to risk, as did long-term oral contraceptive use (OR=0.5, for ≥ 5 years). Hormone replacement therapy in menopause was associated with a non-significantly elevated risk (OR=1.4). The pattern of risk was similar for women with and for those without family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Conclusions: This uniquely large study confirms and further quantifies the relation between hormonal and reproductive factors and ovarian cancer. The pattern of risk observed cannot be totally explained by a role of ovulation in ovarian carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-341
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Epidemiology
  • Female hormones
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Reproduction
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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