Perineal Talc  Exposure & Epithelial Ovarian Ca Risk


Perineal talc exposure and epithelial ovarian cancer risk in the Central Valley of California

Paul K. Mills 1 2 *, Deborah G. Riordan 1, Rosemary D. Cress 3, Heather A. Young 4

1Cancer Registry of Central California/Public Health Institute, Fresno, CA, USA 2Fresno Medical Education Program, University of California, San Francisco, Fresno, CA, USA 3California Cancer Registry, Sacramento, CA, USA 4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC, USA

email: Paul K. Mills (

*Correspondence to Paul K. Mills, Cancer Registry of Central California, 1320 E. Shaw Avenue, Suite 160, Fresno, CA 93710

Fax: +559-222-8960


Perineal talc use has been suggested as a possible risk factor for ovarian cancer based on its structural similarity to asbestos, a known human carcinogen.

A population-based epidemiologic case-control study of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) was conducted in 22 counties of Central California that comprise the reporting area for 2 regional cancer registries.

Telephone interviews were conducted with 256 cases diagnosed in the years 2000-2001 and 1,122 controls frequency-matched on age and ethnicity. The interview obtained information on demographic factors, menstrual and reproductive experience, exogenous hormone use, surgical history and family history of cancer.

Questions on perineal talc use included frequency of use, duration of use and specific years when talc was used. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were derived from unconditional logistic regression. The OR for ever use of talc was 1.37 (CI = 1.02-1.85) compared to never users.

However, no dose response association was found. Tubal ligation (TL) modified the effect of talc on EOC such that women with TL had an OR of 0.88 (CI = 0.46-1.68) associated with perineal talc use, whereas women with no TL had an OR of 1.54 (CI = 1.10-2.16).

Talc use and EOC risk was highest in women with serous invasive tumors (OR = 1.77; CI = 1.12-2.81).

This study provides some support for the hypothesis that perineal talc use is associated with an increased risk of EOC.

International Journal of Cancer Volume 112, Issue 3 , Pages 458 - 464

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