Newer hormonal contraceptives still associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancer

Researchers in Denmark found that newer combined hormonal contraceptives were still associated with a reduction in ovarian cancer risk in women of reproductive age.

Contraceptive pill packets

Newer combined hormonal contraceptives, containing progestogens such as desogestrel, are still associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, a data analysis from Denmark shows[1]

Using data from women who were aged 15–49 years during 1995–2014, researchers found that there were 1,249 cases of ovarian cancer over a total of 21.4 million person–years follow-up. They found that women who were current or recent (within one year) users of hormonal contraception had a 42% reduced risk and former users had a 23% reduced risk of ovarian cancer compared with never users.

The available data on progestogen-only hormonal contraception was limited as few women in the study were exclusive users of progestogen-only contraceptives, but did not suggest an association with ovarian cancer risk.

Reporting their findings in The BMJ (online, 26 September 2018), the team explained that previous research had established that older combined oral contraception reduced the risk of ovarian cancer. But newer combined oral contraceptives have lower levels of oestrogen, newer progestogens and differing patterns of administration.

“Contemporary combined hormonal contraceptives are still associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer in women of reproductive age, with patterns similar to those seen with older combined oral products,” the researchers concluded.


[1] Iversen L, Fielding S, Lidegaard Ø et al. Association between contemporary hormonal contraception and ovarian cancer in women of reproductive age in Denmark: prospective, nationwide cohort study. BMJ 2018;362:k3609. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k3609

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, December 2018, Vol 10, No 12;10(12):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205741

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