Oral contraceptives and prolactinomas: a case-control study

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1982 May 15;143(2):134-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(82)90641-x.

Abstract

The increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases of prolactinomas seems to coincide with the use of oral contraceptives during the past two decades. The following retrospective case-control study was undertaken in an attempt to disprove a null hypothesis of relationship between oral contraceptive use and prolactinomas. Each of 70 patients operated upon for removal of a prolactinoma was closely matched for age, gravidity, and year of final diagnosis with one patient in each of three control groups. The control groups selected were constituted, respectively, of patients with secondary amenorrhea and normal prolactin levels, patients with normal ovulatory cycles consulting for infertility, and subjects without medical or gynecologic problems. No statistically significative differences were found in the exposure rates to oral contraceptives among four groups. This study thus failed to reveal a significant association between prolactinomas and oral contraceptives but, given the sample size, a relative risk lower than 3.32 cannot be demonstrated or disproved.

PIP: The increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases of prolactinomas seems to coincide with the use of oral contraceptives (OCs) during the past 2 decades. The following retrospectives case-control study was undertaken in an attempt to disprove a null hypothesis of relationship between OC use and prolactinomas. Each of 70 patients operated upon for removal of a prolactinoma was closely matched for aged, gravidity, and year of final diagnosis with 1 patient in each of 3 control groups. The control groups selected were constituted of patients with secondary amenorrhea and normal prolactin levels, patients with normal ovulatory cycles consulting for infertility, and subjects without medical or gynecologic problems. No statistically significant differences were found in the exposure rates to OCs among the 4 groups. Even the duration of OC use was not statistically significant in patients with prolactinoma and in patients with secondary amenorrhea and normal prolactin levels or patients with infertility. This study failed to reveal a significant association between prolactinomas and OCs but, given the sample size, a relative risk lower than 3.32 cannot be demonstrated or disproved. The results are reassuring and support the view that the increasing incidence of prolactinoma is probably due to advances in diagnostic technology rater than to OC exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptives, Oral / adverse effects*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Quebec
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic

Substances

  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Prolactin