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Oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormones and risk of contralateral breast cancer among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and noncarriers: the WECARE Study

  • Jane C. Figueiredo
  • Robert W. Haile
  • Leslie Bernstein
  • Kathleen E. Malone
  • Joan Largent
  • Bryan Langholz
  • Charles F. Lynch
  • Lisbeth Bertelsen
  • Marinela Capanu
  • Patrick Concannon
  • Åke Borg
  • Anne-Lise Borresen-Dale
  • Anh Diep
  • Sharon Teraoka
  • Therese Törngren
  • Shanyan Xue
  • Jonine L. Bernstein
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 175-183
Publication/Series: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Volume: 120
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

The potential effects of oral contraceptive (OC) and postmenopausal hormone (PMH) use are not well understood among BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) deleterious mutation carriers with a history of breast cancer. We investigated the association between OC and PMH use and risk of contralateral breast cancer (CBC) in the WECARE (Women's Environment, Cancer, and Radiation Epidemiology) Study. The WECARE Study is a population-based case-control study of 705 women with asynchronous CBC and 1,398 women with unilateral breast cancer, including 181 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Risk-factor information was assessed by telephone interview. Mutation status was measured using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography followed by direct sequencing in all participants. Outcomes, treatment, and tumor characteristics were abstracted from medical records. Ever use of OCs was not associated with risk among noncarriers (RR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.66-1.15) or BRCA2 carriers (RR = 0.82; 95% CI = 0.21-3.13). BRCA1 carriers who used OCs had a nonsignificant greater risk than nonusers (RR = 2.38; 95% CI = 0.72-7.83). Total duration of OC use and at least 5 years of use before age 30 were associated with a nonsignificant increased risk among mutation carriers but not among noncarriers. Few women had ever used PMH and we found no significant associations between lifetime use and CBC risk among carriers and noncarriers. In conclusion, the association between OC/PMH use and risk of CBC does not differ significantly between carriers and noncarriers; however, because carriers have a higher baseline risk of second primaries, even a potential small increase in risk as a result of OC use may be clinically relevant.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • BRCA2
  • BRCA1
  • Postmenopausal hormones
  • contraceptives
  • Oral
  • Contralateral
  • Breast cancer
  • Asynchronous bilateral


  • ISSN: 1573-7217
Åke Borg
Åke Borg
E-mail: ake [dot] borg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Principal investigator

Oncology and Pathology, MV

+46 46 275 25 52

MV 404 C21B2


Project manager

Familial Breast Cancer



Oncology and Pathology, MV

MV 404 C21C2