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Oestrogen replacement therapy and increased risk of ovarian cancer

7 August 2002

The 17 July 2002 issue of JAMA has the report of a large study of women using long-term oestrogen-only therapy in which an increase in incidence of cancer of the ovary was observed.

The increased risk translates to an additional 3 cases per 10 000 women after ten years of therapy. The risk increases further with longer therapy.

The study looked at long-term disease prevention and not short-term management of symptoms at the time of menopause. No increase in the risk of cancer of the ovary was seen in women using combination oestrogen and progestin therapy, but numbers studied were small for these women.

Further information about the study can be found at the US National Institutes of Health website.

The TGA is ensuring that this information about the long-term use of oestrogen alone is included in the Australian prescribing information and Consumer Medicines Information.