OBJECTIVE: To estimate the overall reduction in ovarian cancer risk associated with the use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and whether reduction in risk is affected by specifics of OCP use, such as formulation or duration of use.
DATA SOURCES: We searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and ClinicalTrials.gov for studies published from January 1990 to June 2012, with primary analysis of studies published since January 2000.
METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: We reviewed 6,476 citations. We included English-language controlled studies with human participants reporting a quantitative association between exposure to OCPs (in which the explicit or implicit indication for OCP use was prevention of pregnancy or ovarian cancer) compared with no use of OCPs. Two investigators independently reviewed the title and abstract and full-text of articles for inclusion or exclusion decision; discordant decisions were resolved by team review and consensus.
TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: Fifty-five studies met inclusion criteria. A random-effects meta-analysis of 24 case-control and cohort studies showed significant reduction in ovarian cancer incidence in ever-users compared with never-users (odds ratio 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.66–0.81). There was a significant duration–response relationship, with reduction in incidence of more than 50% among women using OCPs for 10 or more years. The lifetime reduction in ovarian cancer attributable to the use of OCPs is approximately 0.54% for a number-needed-to-treat of approximately 185 for a use period of 5 years.
CONCLUSION: Significant duration-dependent reductions in ovarian cancer incidence in the general population are associated with OCP use.