Danish study: no link between hormonal contraception, pancreatic cancer

  • Butt SA & al.
  • PLoS One
  • 1 Jan 2018

  • curated by Brian Richardson, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • A nationwide prospective cohort study from Denmark suggests that women using hormonal contraceptives are not at increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Why this matters

  • A prior prospective cohort study had shown a 72% increased risk of pancreatic cancer in long-term users of hormonal contraception.

Key results

  • 235 pancreatic cancers occurred among 1.9 million women over an average of 11.4 years of follow-up (12.9 million person-years of hormonal contraceptive use).
  • Hormonal contraception users had similar risk of pancreatic cancer as never-users (relative risk [RR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.68-1.19).
  • Long-term use (>10 years) was also not significantly associated with risk of pancreatic cancer (RR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.47-1.50).
  • Current or recent use of progestin-only contraception and combined oral contraception also shows a similar risk of pancreatic cancer as never use (RR, 1.16 [95% CI, 0.79-1.89] and 0.92 [95% CI, 0.62-1.36], respectively).

Study design

  • 1.9 million women from the Danish National Prescription Registry, Danish Cancer Registry, and Danish National Patient Register were analyzed for associations between hormonal contraceptive use and pancreatic cancer.
  • Funding: Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Limitations

  • No adjustment for alcohol consumption and dietary factors.

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