In Vitro and Breast Cancer Risk

In vitro fertilization treatment did not appear to raise breast cancer risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments were not tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, a new study found.

With IVF treatments affecting hormonal levels and hormones shown to influence breast cancer risk, there was previous concern that long-term breast cancer risk could be increased for women who underwent this treatment. Previous studies on IVF treatment and breast cancer risk were inconclusive due to limited follow-up.

However, the Dutch researchers behind this new study found that IVF treatment did not increase long-term breast cancer risk. The study included 25,108 women in the Netherlands who underwent IVF or non-IVF treatment with an average follow-up of 21 years after treatment.

Breast cancer risk was not increased on average in the IVF group when compared to both the non-IVF group and the Dutch general population.

Also, the study found decreased breast cancer risk for women who underwent seven or more IVF cycles compared to women who underwent one to two IVF cycles. In addition, the study found a decreased risk for women who had a poor response to the first IVF cycle compared to women with a normal response. 

This study was recently published in JAMA. This work was supported by the Dutch Cancer Society, the Health Research and Development Counsel and the Dutch Ministry of Health. Several study authors received grants from pharmaceutical companies like Merck Serono and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

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Review Date: 
July 21, 2016
Last Updated:
July 25, 2016