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 American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on December 13, 2008
American Journal of Epidemiology, doi:10.1093/aje/kwn360

Original Contribution

A Case-Control Study of Oral Contraceptive Use and Incident Breast Cancer

Lynn Rosenberg, Yuqing Zhang, Patricia F. Coogan, Brian L. Strom and Julie R. Palmer

Dr. Lynn Rosenberg, Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, 1010 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Oral contraceptive (OC) use has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, largely on the basis of studies conducted before 1990.

In the Case-Control Surveillance Study, a US hospital-based case-control study of medication use and cancer, the authors assessed the relation of OC use to breast cancer risk among 907 case women with incident invasive breast cancer (731 white, 176 black) and 1,711 controls (1,152 white, 559 black) interviewed from 1993 to 2007. They evaluated whether the association differed by ethnicity or tumor hormone receptor status.

After control for breast cancer risk factors, the multivariable odds ratio for 1 year or more of OC use, relative to less than 1 year of use, was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 1.8).


The estimates were similar within age strata (<50 years and ≥50 years). The odds ratios were larger for use within the previous 10 years, long-duration use, and black ethnicity, but these differences were not statistically significant. The association of OC use with breast cancer risk did not differ according to the estrogen or progestogen receptor status of the tumor.

These results suggest that OC use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer diagnosed in recent years.

breast neoplasms; case-control studies; contraceptives, oral

Abbreviations: CARE, Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences; CI, confidence interval; ER, estrogen receptor; OC(s), oral contraceptive(s); PR, progestogen receptor

American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access published online on December 13, 2008. Received for publication July 1, 2008. Accepted for publication October 10, 2008.

American Journal of Epidemiology, doi:10.1093/aje/kwn360

Published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.