OCs Do Not Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk in
Women With BRCA Mutations
(Reuters Health) Jul 25 - Among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, the use of oral contraceptives does not appear to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, Israeli researchers report in the July 26th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
During a 5-year study, Dr. Baruch Modan, from the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, and colleagues from the National Israel Ovarian Cancer Study Group collected data on BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations on 840 Jewish women with peritoneal or epithelial ovarian cancer. In addition, the researchers interviewed 751 controls and collected buccal cells from them.
Dr. Modan's group found that 29.0% of the patients and 1.7% of controls had a founder mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. As in previous studies, multiparity reduced the risk of ovarian cancer. In fact, the reduction in risk for each additional birth was greater in BRCA carriers, 12%, than in noncarriers, 6%.
But while the relative risk of ovarian cancer in the entire cohort was reduced by 3.5% for each year of oral contraceptive use, oral contraceptive use offered no protective effect in women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
The investigators conclude that "it is premature to prescribe oral contraceptives for the chemoprevention of ovarian cancer in carriers of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, particularly in light of the report of a possible increased risk of breast cancer in such women."
N Engl J Med 2001;345:235-240.
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