Back to Journals » Clinical Epidemiology » Volume 13

Reproductive Factors, Use of Exogenous Hormones, and Pancreatic Cancer Incidence: The Norwegian Women and Cancer Study

Authors Alvarez A, Benjaminsen Borch K, Rylander C

Received 19 June 2020

Accepted for publication 7 December 2020

Published 5 February 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 67—80


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Vera Ehrenstein

Antoine Alvarez,1 Kristin Benjaminsen Borch,2 Charlotta Rylander2

1Faculty of Medicine, Paris-Sud University, Paris, France; 2Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Correspondence: Charlotta Rylander
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, 9037, Norway
Tel +47-77-644-831

Introduction: The incidence of pancreatic cancer is increasing worldwide and characterized by a particularly low survival rate. Studies have reported weak and inconsistent evidence for associations among reproductive factors, use of exogenous hormones, and pancreatic cancer incidence in women.
Purpose: To investigate relationships between reproductive factors, exogenous hormones, and the rate of pancreatic cancer incidence in a large population-based prospective cohort of women in Norway.
Methods: We used data from the Norwegian Women and Cancer study on 588 incident cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed among 165,419 women, with mean follow-up of 18.7 years. Cox proportional-hazard models were used to estimate HRs and 95% CIs for associations of interest.
Results: Cumulative breastfeeding duration > 24 months was associated with 63% decreased incidence of pancreatic cancer compared to no breastfeeding. We observed an inverse linear dose–response trend between cumulative breastfeeding duration and pancreatic cancer incidence, which was confirmed in parous women and ever-smokers. Higher age at first birth and menopause were inversely associated with pancreatic cancer incidence, though with less precise effect estimates. Current use of oral contraceptives was associated with a doubling of pancreatic cancer incidence, but the analysis was hampered by a small number of cases. There was no evidence of any associations between age at menarche, parity or use of menopausal hormone therapy, and incidence of pancreatic cancer.
Conclusion: Our results suggest a potential protective effect of breastfeeding duration against pancreatic cancer incidence. Inconsistent results for the other reproductive factors suggested no important role of estrogens in pancreatic cancer etiology.

Keywords: pancreatic neoplasms, incidence, women, prospective study, breastfeeding, age at first birth

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]