Reproductive factors, hormonal interventions, and gastric cancer risk in the Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project

Cancer Causes Control. 2024 Apr;35(4):727-737. doi: 10.1007/s10552-023-01829-1. Epub 2023 Dec 20.


Background: Gastric cancer incidence is higher in men, and a protective hormone-related effect in women is postulated. We aimed to investigate and quantify the relationship in the Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project consortium.

Methods: A total of 2,084 cases and 7,102 controls from 11 studies in seven countries were included. Summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) assessing associations of key reproductive factors and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) with gastric cancer were estimated by pooling study-specific ORs using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: A duration of fertility of ≥ 40 years (vs. < 20), was associated with a 25% lower risk of gastric cancer (OR = 0.75; 95% CI: 0.58-0.96). Compared with never use, ever, 5-9 years and ≥ 10 years use of MHT in postmenopausal women, showed ORs of 0.73 (95% CI: 0.58-0.92), 0.53 (95% CI: 0.34-0.84) and 0.71 (95% CI: 0.50-1.00), respectively. The associations were generally similar for anatomical and histologic subtypes.

Conclusion: Our results support the hypothesis that reproductive factors and MHT use may lower the risk of gastric cancer in women, regardless of anatomical or histologic subtypes. Given the variation in hormones over the lifespan, studies should address their effects in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Furthermore, mechanistic studies may inform potential biological processes.

Keywords: Estrogens; MHT; Postmenopause; Premenopause.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Premenopause
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / etiology