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Use of Oral Contraceptives as a Potential Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies Up to 2010

Wiesław Kanadys, Agnieszka Barańska, Maria Malm, Agata Błaszczuk, Małgorzata Polz-Dacewicz, et al.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 27;18(9):4638.doi: 10.3390/ijerph18094638.

Despite numerous studies evaluating the risk of breast cancer among oral contraception users, the effect of oral contraceptive on developing breast cancer remains inconclusive. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of literature with meta-analysis in order to quantitative estimate this association. The bibliographic database MEDLINE and EMBASE, and reference lists of identified articles were searched, with no language restrictions, from the start of publication to August 2010. We performed a reanalysis and overall estimate of 79 case-control studies conducted between 1960-2010, including a total of 72,030 incidents, histologically confirmed cases of breast cancer and 123,650 population/hospital controls. A decrease was observed in cancer risk in OC users before age 25 years (0.91, 0.83-1.00). However, the use of OCs before the first full-term pregnancy had a significant increased risk of breast cancer (OR, 1.14, 1.01-1.28, p = 0.04), as did OC use longer than 5 years (1.09, 1.01-1.18, p = 0.02). Pooled crude odds ratios of breast cancer in ever-users of oral contraceptives was 1.01 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.95-1.07], compared with never-users. There was no significant increase in risk among premenopausal women (1.06, 0.92-1.22), postmenopausal women (0.99, 0.89-1.10), or nulliparous women (1.02, 0.82-1.26).

Oral contraceptives do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer among users. However, OC use before a first full-term pregnancy or using them longer than 5 years can modify the development of the breast cancer.