Objective: To evaluate the effect of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) in protecting against epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and to evaluate factors associated with the risk of EOC.
Design: A multicentre, case-control study.
Setting: Twelve hospitals located across Thailand.
Population: Three hundred and thirty patients with EOC ('cases') and 982 matched controls were recruited from the 12 hospitals. Cases were newly diagnosed patients with EOC, demonstrated pathologically. Controls were age-matched patients admitted to different wards in the same hospital.
Methods: Cases and controls were interviewed by trained interviewers using a standardised pre-tested questionnaire. The factors associated with EOC were evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Main outcome measures: The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated to assess the relationship between DMPA and EOC.
Results: The use of DMPA was found to be associated with a 39% reduction in the risk of EOC with an OR of 0.61 and a 95% CI of 0.44-0.85 (P = 0.002). A significant risk reduction (83%) was observed when the duration of DMPA use was >3 years (OR 0.17; 95% CI 0.07-0.39; P < 0.001). Other factors associated with a reduced risk of EOC were the use of combined oral contraceptive pills and breastfeeding. A factor associated with an increased risk of EOC was a family history of gynaecological cancer.
Conclusions: The results suggest that DMPA may have a protective effect against EOC. If this effect is real, then it represents an important non-contraceptive benefit of DMPA.
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG.