A Pooled Analysis of Reproductive Factors, Exogenous Hormone Use, and Risk of Multiple Myeloma among Women in the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Jan;25(1):217-21. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0953. Epub 2015 Oct 13.


Background: Female sex hormones are known to have immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use could influence the risk of multiple myeloma in women. However, the role of hormonal factors in multiple myeloma etiology remains unclear because previous investigations were underpowered to detect modest associations.

Methods: We conducted a pooled analysis of seven case-control studies included in the International Multiple Myeloma Consortium, with individual data on reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use from 1,072 female cases and 3,541 female controls. Study-specific odds ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using logistic regression and pooled analyses were conducted using random effects meta-analyses.

Results: Multiple myeloma was not associated with reproductive factors, including ever parous [OR = 0.92; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.68-1.25], or with hormonal contraception use (OR = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.80-1.36). Postmenopausal hormone therapy users had nonsignificantly reduced risks of multiple myeloma compared with never users, but this association differed across centers (OR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.37-1.15, I(2) = 76.0%, Pheterogeneity = 0.01).

Conclusions: These data do not support a role for reproductive factors or exogenous hormones in myelomagenesis.

Impact: Incidence rates of multiple myeloma are higher in men than in women, and sex hormones could influence this pattern. Associations with reproductive factors and exogenous hormone use were inconclusive despite our large sample size, suggesting that female sex hormones may not play a significant role in multiple myeloma etiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / etiology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prognosis
  • Reproductive History*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult