Breast cancer risk in relation to type of estrogen contained in oral contraceptives

James J. Schlesselman, Bruce V. Stadel, Pamela Murray, Sheng han Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report analyses designed to address the recent hypothesis that women who use combination-type OCs containing ethinylestradiol (EE) are at increased risk of breast cancer before age 45, if use of such OCs occurs prior to first term pregnancy (FTP). Our findings, based on data from 1679 cases and 1689 controls, 20-44 years of age, from the population-based Cancer and Steroid Hormone Study, are against the hypothesis. The relative risk of breast cancer by duration of exclusive use prior to FTP of OCs containing EE is estimated to be 1.0 (1-12 months EE use), 1.2 (13-48 months EE use), and 0.9 (49+ months EE use). There was no evidence of a latent effect. Among parous women with 49+ months exclusive use prior to FTP of EE-containing OCs, the relative risk of breast cancer was estimated as 0.9 (0-4 years after FTP) and 0.6 (5-9 years after FTP). Among nulliparous women with 49+ months exclusive use of EE-containing OCs, the relative risk of breast cancer was estimated as 1.0 (0-4 years since first use), 0.7 (5-9 years since first use), and 1.1 (10-14 years since first use). With regard to exclusive use of OCs containing mestranol, parous women who used such preparations long-term before their FTP showed no alteration of breast cancer risk, even 15 years or more after pregnancy. Nulliparous women with exclusive use of ME-containing OCs did show elevations in breast cancer risk, but the magnitude of risk in relation to duration of use and latent interval shows no pattern that suggests a cause-effect relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-613
Number of pages19
JournalContraception
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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