Ovarian Stimulation Ups Risk of Ovarian Tumors in Later Life

Increased risk of ovarian stimulation for IVF seen in particular with borderline ovarian tumors

THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization (IVF) is associated with an increase in the risk of ovarian malignancies, especially borderline ovarian tumors, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in Human Reproduction.

Flora E. van Leeuwen, Ph.D., from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues assessed the long-term effects of ovarian stimulation for IVF on the risk of ovarian malignancies in 19,146 women who received IVF treatment in the Netherlands between 1983 and 1995, and 6,006 subfertile women who did not undergo IVF. Data were collected from 65 percent of the women between 1997 and 1999 on reproductive risk factors, and data on subfertility (treatment) were collected from medical records. The incidence of ovarian malignancies was assessed though 2007 via linkage to disease registries. Participants were followed up for 14.7 years and the risk of ovarian malignancies in the IVF group, the general population, and the subfertile comparison group were compared.

The investigators found a significantly increased risk of borderline ovarian tumors in the IVF group compared with the general population (standardized incidence ratio [SIR], 1.76). There was no significant increase in the overall SIR for invasive ovarian cancer, but incidence increased with longer follow-up after the first IVF (SIR after 15 years, 3.54). Compared with the subfertile group, the risks of borderline ovarian tumors and all ovarian malignancies combined were significantly elevated in the IVF group (hazard ratios, 4.23 and 2.14, respectively).

"Knowledge about the magnitude of the risks associated with ovarian stimulation is important for women considering starting or continuing IVF treatment, as well as their treating physicians," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to MSD and Ferring.

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