medwireNews: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may have an increased likelihood for developing cancer, although the excess risk appears to be primarily restricted to those who are premenopausal, indicates a population-based study.
Using data from Swedish registers on 3,493,604 women aged 15–50 years, the researchers found that the overall cancer risk was a significant 1.15-fold higher for the 14,764 women who had a diagnosis of PCOS than for their counterparts without PCOS after adjusting for factors such as attained age, calendar year, and family history.
But further analysis by menopausal status showed that it was premenopausal women who were mainly at risk. The overall risk for cancer was a significant 1.22 times greater for women with versus without PCOS in this subgroup, while the association was not significant in the postmenopausal subgroup.
Of note, PCOS was associated with an elevated risk for not only cancers of the endometrium and ovaries, but also the pancreas, kidneys, and endocrine glands, both in the overall cohort and the premenopausal subgroup.
Among postmenopausal women, PCOS was linked to an increased risk for thyroid cancer alone, report Weimin Ye (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) and co-authors in JAMA Oncology.
And they conclude: “Our study indicates that cancer may need to be added to the spectrum of long-term health consequences of PCOS and warrants increased surveillance among these patients.”
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