Case-control studies have shown inverse associations between cigarette smoking and endometrial cancer risk. However, two small prospective cohort studies have not clearly supported an association. Moreover, quantitative measures of smoking have been examined infrequently. Our aim was to study the association between smoking and endometrial cancer risk in a large prospective cohort. We used proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios relating cigarette smoking to endometrial cancer risk among 70 591 women aged 40-59 years at recruitment into a randomised controlled trial of mammography screening for breast cancer. During an average of 10.6 years of follow-up (751 833 person-years), a total of 403 women were diagnosed with incident endometrial cancer. We found that a reduced endometrial cancer risk was evident only among women who currently smoked 20 cigarettes per day or more (hazard ratio=0.62, 95% CI=0.42-0.92, P for trend=0.03). There was some suggestion of an inverse association with smoking duration, but this was less clear. The association did not vary with menopausal status, relative body weight, or the use of hormone replacement therapy, but it appeared to be stronger among parous than nulliparous women. The underlying biological mechanisms of this association remain unclear.
Copyright 2002 Cancer Research UK