Background: Combined oral contraceptive use is associated with a decreased risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (ovarian cancer). There is suggestive evidence of an inverse association between progestin-only contraceptive use and ovarian cancer risk, but previous studies have been underpowered.
Methods: The current study used primary data from 7,977 women with ovarian cancer and 11,820 control women in seven case-control studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium to evaluate the association between use of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), an injectable progestin-only contraceptive, and ovarian cancer risk. Logistic models were fit to determine the association between ever use of DMPA and ovarian cancer risk overall and by histotype. A systematic review of the association between DMPA use and ovarian cancer risk was conducted.
Results: Ever use of DMPA was associated with a 35% decreased risk of ovarian cancer overall (OR, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.50-0.85). There was a statistically significant trend of decreasing risk with increasing duration of use (P trend < 0.001). The systematic review yielded six studies, four of which showed an inverse association and two showed increased risk.
Conclusions: DMPA use appears to be associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer in a duration-dependent manner based on the preponderance of evidence. Further study of the mechanism through which DMPA use is associated with ovarian cancer is warranted.
Impact: The results of this study are of particular interest given the rise in popularity of progestin-releasing intrauterine devices that have a substantially lower progestin dose than that in DMPA, but may have a stronger local effect.
©2021 American Association for Cancer Research.