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13-09-2009 | Gynaecology | Article

Transcervical quinacrine sterilization does not increase cancer risk


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Women undergoing sterilization using transcervical quinacrine do not have an increased risk for cancer, suggest results of a follow-up study.

Concerns over the use of quinacrine for sterilization are mainly due to its potential risk for cancer, since quinacrine has been shown to be mutagenic.

“If long-term safety issues could be addressed, quinacrine could potentially provide a safe, low-cost method for permanent contraception in low-resource settings,” explain David Sokal (Family Health International, Durham, North Carolina, USA) and co-authors.

Extending results from previous findings, the researchers conducted a second follow-up study (median length of follow-up was 18.5 years) on 1,492 Chilean women who received transcervical quinacrine pellets for contraceptive sterilization during 1977-1989.

Comparing the number of observed cancer cases to the number of expected cases based on data from the cancer registry in Cali, Colombia, the researchers identified 41 invasive cancers of which 16 were new cases that occurred since the previous analysis (through 1996).

Overall, the number of observed cases was significantly lower than the number of expected cases from the general population (41.0 vs 59.7, ratio = 0.69). More specifically the ratios of observed to expected number of cancer cases were 0.76, 0.83, 0.32, and 0.51 for breast, cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancers, respectively.

“After incorporating 10 additional years of follow-up data into this cohort study, we found no evidence of an increased risk for gynecologic cancers in this Chilean cohort,” conclude Sokal and team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Ingrid Grasmo