Role of oral contraceptives in prevention of endometrial cancer

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Oral contraceptives are known to reduce the incidence rate of endometrial cancer, but it is uncertain how long this effect lasts after use ceases, or whether it is modified by other factors.


Individual participant datasets were sought from principal investigators and provided centrally for 27 276 women with endometrial cancer (cases) and 115 743 without endometrial cancer (controls) from 36 epidemiological studies. The relative risks (RRs) of endometrial cancer associated with oral contraceptive use were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by study, age, parity, body-mass index, smoking, and use of menopausal hormone therapy.


The median age of cases was 63 years (IQR 57–68) and the median year of cancer diagnosis was 2001 (IQR 1994–2005). 9459 (35%) of 27 276 cases and 45 625 (39%) of 115 743 controls had ever used oral contraceptives, for median durations of 3·0 years (IQR 1–7) and 4·4 years (IQR 2–9), respectively. The longer that women had used oral contraceptives, the greater the reduction in risk of endometrial cancer; every 5 years of use was associated with a risk ratio...