Fertility Drugs Increase Cancer Risk

DRUGS designed to induce ovulation seem to have increased the risk of uterine cancer in a group of women who were treated with them over 30 years ago.

The number of women who developed the disease after taking the drugs was small. But according to Louise Brinton at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who has previously looked at the effects of such drugs, the finding emphasizes the need to monitor more women who are treated with them. Brinton was not involved in the latest work.

Ovulation-inducing drugs are prescribed to women who have trouble conceiving, are undergoing IVF, or who want to donate or sell their eggs. Though they have been used for more than 30 years, their health effects are still unclear.

While some studies have linked ovulation-stimulating drugs to an increase in ovarian or breast cancers, others have failed to find any such link.

This discrepancy has been blamed on the studies not following women for long enough, or including some who never gave birth; childless women are known to be at increased risk of certain cancers.

Read more at NewScientist