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Minerva Endocrinologica 2010 December;35(4):247-57

language: English

Assisted reproductive technology and ovarian cancer

Devesa M., Barri P. N., Coroleu B.

Service of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproduction, Dexeus University Institute, Barcelona, Spain


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Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality among all gynaecological cancers, being multiparity and oral contraceptive use the most important protective factors. According to both the “incessant ovulation” and “increased gonadotrophin” theories, fertility drugs might have an association with the development of ovarian cancer, as has been reported by some studies. However, infertility and nulliparity may act as confounding factors and most studies regarding this issue are hampered by methodological limitations. It seems that female infertility may be associated with a modest increase in ovarian cancer risk in those patients who remain nulligravid despite long periods of unprotected intercourse. Globally, most studies are reassuring in not showing a link between the use of fertility drugs and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Nonetheless, further research in well-designed studies is warranted.

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