Ovulatory Cycles Linked to Survival in Ovarian Cancer

-- Eric Metcalf

Friday, July 10, 2009

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- A high number of lifetime ovulatory cycles may predict poorer survival among ovarian cancer patients, according to research published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Cheryl L. Robbins, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 410 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early 1980s who participated in the Cancer and Steroid Hormone study. The women's number of lifetime ovulatory cycles was calculated using the number of months from age at menarche to age at last period, minus months of pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and breast-feeding.

The researchers found that women with the greatest number of lifetime ovulatory cycles had a higher risk of death compared to those with the lowest number (hazard ratio, 1.67). Women with the fewest cycles had the highest 15-year survival (56.7 percent), and women with the most cycles had the poorest survival (33.3 percent). In addition, the authors note, women who began menstruating before age 12 had a higher risk of death than those who began at 14 or later (hazard ratio, 1.51).

"The association between lifetime ovulatory cycles and ovarian cancer incidence has been attributed to a variety of possible hormonal hypotheses, such as incessant ovulation, and influence of other hormones, such as gonadotropins, estrogens, androgens, and progesterones. It is plausible that incessant ovulation or hormonal influences could not only explain pathogenesis but may also influence survival after ovarian cancer diagnosis," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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