06/01/2020 In vitro fertilization SPAIN EUROPE MADRID PRESS, RADIO AND TELEVISION CLINICAL HEALTH MARGINº
MADRID, 18 (EUROPA PRESS)
Undergoing assisted reproductive technology does not increase women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to new research published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Previous research indicated that women who undergo assisted reproductive technology to have a successful pregnancy could potentially be at risk for ovarian cancer and borderline non-malignant ovarian tumors due to excessive stimulation of the ovaries.
Since the introduction of assisted reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and embryo cryopreservation four decades ago, some researchers have expressed concern that such technology could increase the risk of ovarian tumors.
The researchers argued that this could be due to a large increase in levels of sex hormones and multiple punctures that disrupt ovarian tissue.
Due to the worldwide increase in the use of fertility treatments and the poor prognosis of ovarian cancer, it is important to examine the association between fertility treatments and the long-term risk of ovarian tumors.
Several epidemiological studies have investigated the association between these treatments and the risk of ovarian tumors, with inconsistent results. In 2013, two meta-analyzes were published showing that women who received fertility treatments were more likely to develop ovarian cancer compared to the general population. But it was not clear if the fertility treatments caused the women to develop ovarian cancer or if the association could be due to other factors, such as infertility itself.
The researchers here were able to link a database on the use of assisted reproductive technology treatment procedures in the Netherlands with national cancer registries to see if it resulted in an excess risk of ovarian tumors.
This nationwide cohort study included 30,625 women who received ovarian stimulation for ART between 1983 and 2001 and 9,988 infertile women who did not receive such treatment. Invasive and borderline incident ovarian tumors were determined by linking with the Netherlands Cancer Registry and the Netherlands Pathology Registry.
The researchers investigated the risks of ovarian tumors in infertile women who received ovarian stimulation for assisted reproductive technology compared to the risks in the general population and with infertile women who did not receive such treatment.
After a median follow-up of 24 years, the researchers looked at 158 invasive cancers and 100 borderline ovarian tumors. No increased risk of ovarian cancer was found in women who received assisted reproductive technology treatment compared to infertile women who did not receive the treatment. Even after more than 20 years, the risk of ovarian cancer did not increase.
Compared to women in the general Dutch population, women who received assisted reproductive technology had a higher risk of ovarian cancer, but this appeared to be mainly due to the higher proportion of women who received assisted reproductive technology and had no children . Childlessness has been shown to be a major risk factor for ovarian cancer.
Women who received such treatment appear to have almost twice the risk of developing borderline ovarian tumors, both compared to the general population and to infertile women who do not receive the treatment. However, the risks of borderline ovarian tumors did not increase after more treatment cycles or after longer follow-up.
This suggests that the increased risks observed for borderline ovarian tumors may be due to underlying characteristics of the patient rather than the treatment itself. Borderline tumors are rare in the general population and are generally easy to treat.
“It is reassuring that women who received ovarian stimulation for assisted reproductive technology do not have an increased risk of malignant ovarian cancer, even in the long term,” notes lead study author Flora E. van Leeuwen.
“However, it is important to realize that even with the long follow-up of our study, the mean age of women at the end of follow-up was only 56 years,” she adds. “As the incidence of ovarian cancer in the population increases at older ages, it is important to follow women treated with assisted reproductive technology for longer. ”