Parity is associated with decreased risk of invasive ovarian cancer; however, the relationship between incomplete pregnancies and invasive ovarian cancer risk is unclear. This relationship was examined using 15 case-control studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). Histotype-specific associations, which have not been examined previously with large sample sizes, were also evaluated.
A pooled analysis of 10,470 invasive epithelial ovarian cancer cases and 16,942 controls was conducted. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association between incomplete pregnancies and invasive epithelial ovarian cancer were estimated using logistic regression. All models were conditioned on OCAC study, race/ethnicity, age, and education level, and adjusted for number of complete pregnancies, oral contraceptive use, and history of breastfeeding. The same approach was used for histotype-specific analyses.
Ever having an incomplete pregnancy was associated with a 16% reduction in ovarian cancer risk (OR = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.79 to 0.89). There was a trend of decreasing risk with increasing number of incomplete pregnancies (two-sided Ptrend <.001). An inverse association was observed for all major histotypes; it was strongest for clear cell ovarian cancer.
Incomplete pregnancies are associated with a reduced risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer. Pregnancy, including incomplete pregnancy, was associated with a greater reduction in risk of clear cell ovarian cancer, but the result was broadly consistent across histotypes. Future work should focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying this reduced risk.
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