Use of hormone replacement therapy before and after ovarian cancer diagnosis and ovarian cancer survival

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Use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been hypothesized to affect survival of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). We studied 5-year survival in patients with invasive EOC and borderline ovarian tumors (BOT) according to HRT use before and after diagnosis in a prospective nation-wide cohort study of 799 women diagnosed with EOC (n= 649) and BOT (n= 150) aged 50–74 years in 1993–1995 in Sweden. Cox regression was used to obtain multivariate age-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Multivariate models included indicator variables for age, tumor stage, grade and histological subtype. After 5 years of follow-up, 45% of the patients with EOC and 93% of the patients with BOT were alive. For women with BOT there were no associations between HRT-use pre- or postdiagnosis and survival. There was no overall difference in 5-year EOC survival according to use HRT before diagnosis (multivariate HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.65–1.08), except for serous EOC (HR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.48–0.98). Analyses of different HRT preparations, duration and recency of use did not reveal any variations in pattern of survival. We observed a better survival for EOC-patients who used HRT after diagnosis (multivariate HR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.42–0.78). We conclude that HRT-use prior to diagnosis of EOC does not affect 5-year survival, except for a possible survival advantage in serous EOC. Women using HRT after diagnosis had a better survival than women with no use, but we cannot rule out that this latter finding may reflect a subtle selection process.

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