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2 reproductive factors are important predictors of death from ovarian cancer
Date:7/8/2009

PHILADELPHIA Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that survival among women with ovarian cancer is influenced by age of menarche and total number of lifetime ovulatory cycles.

This finding suggests that hormonal activity over the course of a woman's lifetime may influence the prognosis after an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Results of this study are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Results of previous studies indicated that fewer lifetime ovulatory cycles, higher parity, oral contraceptive use, hysterectomy and tubal ligation are associated with decreased risk of developing this form of cancer, according to the researchers. However, little is known about the influence of these factors on a patient's survival after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Cheryl L. Robbins, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the CDC, and colleagues sought to explore whether these reproductive factors influence ovarian cancer survival.

"Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer mortality in women. It accounts for more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer," said Robbins, also a researcher on the study. "Although we have relatively good knowledge about the influence of reproductive factors on the risk of developing ovarian cancer, knowledge is rather limited regarding the reproductive factors that may influence survival after diagnosis with this serious disease."

Robbins and colleagues conducted a longitudinal analysis of 410 women, aged 20 to 54 years. All participants were previously enrolled in the 1980-1982 Cancer and Steroid Hormone (CASH) study as incident ovarian cancer cases.

After a follow-up of about 17 years, 221 women died; findings showed that overall 15-year survival among the study population was 48 percent. Lifetime ovulatory cycle and age at menarche were two factors that played a key
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Contact: Tara Yates
tara.yates@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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