Menopausal hormone therapy and risk of ovarian cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Aug;22(8):1075-84. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9782-z. Epub 2011 Jun 3.


The association between menopausal hormone therapy (HT) and risk of ovarian cancer was assessed among 126,920 post-menopausal women recruited into the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. After an average of 9-year follow-up, 424 incident ovarian cancers were diagnosed. Cox models adjusted for body mass index, smoking status, unilateral ovariectomy, simple hysterectomy, age at menarche, number of full-term pregnancies, and duration of oral contraceptives were used. Compared with baseline never use, current use of any HT was positively associated with risk (HR [hazard ratio], 1.29; 95% CI [confidence interval], 1.01-1.65), while former use was not (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.70-1.30). Current estrogen-only HT was associated with a 63% higher risk (HR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.08-2.47), while current estrogen plus progestin was associated with a smaller and non-significant higher risk (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.89-1.62). Use of tibolone was associated with a twofold greater risk (HR, 2.19; 95% CI, 1.06-4.50), but was based on small numbers. In conclusion, women who currently use HT have a moderate increased risk of ovarian cancer, and which may be stronger for estrogen-only than estrogen plus progestin preparations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Postmenopause
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment