Treatment of infertility does not increase the risk of ovarian cancer among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

Fertil Steril. 2016 Mar;105(3):781-785. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.11.034. Epub 2015 Dec 14.


Objective: To evaluate the relationship between use of fertility medication (i.e., selective estrogen receptor [ER] modulator, gonadotropin, or other) or infertility treatment (i.e., IVF or IUI) and the risk of ovarian cancer among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Design: A matched case-control study of 941 pairs of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers with and without a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Setting: Genetic clinics.

Patient(s): Detailed information regarding treatment of infertility was collected from a routinely administered questionnaire.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals associated with fertility treatment.

Result(s): There was no significant relationship between the use of any fertility medication or IVF treatment (odds ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval 0.18-2.33) and the subsequent risk of ovarian cancer.

Conclusion(s): Our findings suggest that treatment for infertility does not significantly increase the risk of ovarian cancer among women with a BRCA mutation.

Keywords: BRCA1; BRCA2; infertility; in vitro fertilization; ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Fertility Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Infertility / diagnosis
  • Infertility / physiopathology
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Insemination, Artificial
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Mutation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted* / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human
  • Fertility Agents, Female