Infertility Linked With Increased Ovarian Cancer Risk


A study in Great Britain found that women diagnosed with female factor infertility were at an increased risk for ovarian cancer.

A study in Great Britain found that women diagnosed with infertility were at an increased risk for ovarian cancer. The study looked at women who underwent assisted reproductive therapy (ART) and included more than a quarter million women.

Specifically, women diagnosed with female factor infertility, especially endometriosis, had significantly increased risk for developing ovarian cancer, according to results presented by Alastair Sutcliffe, MD, PhD, of the Institute of Child Health, University College London, at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

In order to obtain follow-up data on cancer outcomes, deaths, and emigrations, Sutcliffe and colleagues linked records taken from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority detailing all women who had undergone ART between 1991 and 2010 with the National Health Service Central Registers. The researchers then stratified cancer incidence in the group by age and calendar period and compared it with expectations derived from annual age-specific national rates during the same time period.

The researchers found that 386 ovarian cancers occurred in the group of 255,786 women during a median of 8.8 years follow-up.

Overall, there was an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer among all women undergoing ART (standardized incidence ratio [SIR], 1.37 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.24–1.51]).

No increased risk was seen with an increasing number of ART cycles, and the risk for developing ovarian cancer was highest within the first 3 years after the first ART cycle (SIR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.27–1.88]), the researchers found.

Interestingly, no increased risk for ovarian cancer was seen among women undergoing ART for male factor infertility (SIR, 1.05 [95% CI, 0.86–1.28]). However, a significant increased risk was observed in women undergoing ART for female factor infertility (SIR, 1.62 [95% CI, 1.42-1.84]), especially those women with endometriosis (SIR, 2.35 [95% CI, 1.80–3.07]).

In addition, the researchers found an increasing risk for ovarian cancer with decreasing parity (Ptrend = .002). Those women who had no live births at the end of the ART had the greatest risk for disease (SIR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.34–1.76]).

Owen Davis, MD, president-elect of ASRM said in a prepared statement, “Dr. Sutcliffe and his colleagues have made an important contribution to our knowledge of the connection between infertility and ovarian cancer in the context of ART. It appears that ovarian cancer risk is increased in some women who have had ART treatment. However, women who underwent ART for non-female infertility diagnosis did not have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. This is reassuring because it suggests that ovarian cancer is not caused by ART per se, but rather is associated with the underlying infertility diagnosis.”

Related Videos
Brian Slomovitz, MD, MS, FACOG discusses the use of new antibody drug conjugates for treating patients with various gynecologic cancers.
Developing novel regimens may continue to improve survival outcomes of patients with advanced cervical cancer following the FDA approval of pembrolizumab and chemoradiation, says Jyoti S. Mayadev, MD.
Treatment with pembrolizumab plus chemoradiation appears to be well tolerated with no detriment to quality of life among those with advanced cervical cancer.
Jyoti S. Mayadev, MD, says that pembrolizumab in combination with chemoradiation will be seamlessly incorporated into her institution’s treatment of those with FIGO 2014 stage III to IVA cervical cancer following the regimen’s FDA approval.
Domenica Lorusso, MD, PhD, says that paying attention to the quality of chemoradiotherapy is imperative to feeling confident about the potential addition of pembrolizumab for locally advanced cervical cancer.
Guidelines from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology may help with managing the ongoing chemotherapy shortage in the treatment of patients with gynecologic cancers, according to Brian Slomovitz, MD, MS, FACOG.
Interim data reveal favorable responses in patients with low-grade serous ovarian cancer treated with avutometinib plus defactinib, according to Susana N. Banerjee, MD.
Brian Slomovitz, MD, MS, FACOG, notes that sometimes there is a need to substitute cisplatin for carboplatin, and vice versa, to best manage gynecologic cancers during the chemotherapy shortage.
Findings from the phase 3 MIRASOL trial support mirvetuximab soravtansine as a standard treatment option for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, according to Ritu Salani, MD.
Trastuzumab deruxtecan appears to elicit ‘impressive’ responses among patients with HER2-positive gynecologic cancers regardless of immunohistochemistry in the phase 2 DESTINY-PanTumor02 trial.
Related Content