Cancer Causes & Control

, 20:1757 | Cite as

Menstrual and reproductive factors and pancreatic cancer in the SEARCH program of the IARC

  • Eric J. Duell
  • Patrick Maisonneuve
  • Peter A. Baghurst
  • H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
  • Parviz Ghadirian
  • Anthony B. Miller
  • Witold Zatonski
  • Alina Vrieling
  • Paolo Boffetta
  • Peter Boyle
Brief report


We conducted a population-based case–control study on the relation of menstrual and reproductive factors and hormone use with pancreatic cancer risk among female participants of the SEARCH program study. We evaluated 367 cases of ductal adenocarcinoma and 821 controls for associations between pancreatic cancer and age at menarche, age at menopause, number of pregnancies, exogenous hormone use, and history of gynaecologic surgery. Among directly interviewed and proxy participants, we found a statistically significant association for having age of menarche at 11 years or younger compared with menarche at ages 12–13 years (OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1–3.1). This result was consistent, but not statistically significant, among three of the four studies analyzed, and when the data were analyzed separately by response status (direct vs. proxy interviews). No other menstrual or reproductive factors were associated with pancreatic cancer risk in this study. In conclusion, earlier age at menarche may be weakly associated with pancreatic cancer, but it seems unlikely that menstrual and reproductive factors play more than only a minor role in pancreatic cancer. Additional analyses in large prospective study populations and in pooled studies may help to clarify remaining inconsistencies.


Pancreatic cancer Epidemiology Reproductive factors Hormones Women’s health 


  1. 1.
    Ferlay J, Autier P, Boniol M, Heanue M, Colombet M, Boyle P (2007) Estimates of the cancer incidence, mortality in Europe in 2006. Ann Oncol 18(3):581–592CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jemal A, Siegel R, Ward E, Hao Y, Xu J, Murray T et al (2008) Cancer statistics, 2008. CA Cancer J Clin 58(2):71–96CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A (2007) Body mass index and pancreatic cancer risk: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Cancer 120(9):1993–1998CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Huxley R, Ansary-Moghaddam A, de Gonzalez AB, Barzi F, Woodward M (2005) Type-II diabetes and pancreatic cancer: a meta-analysis of 36 studies. Br J Cancer 92(11):2076–2083CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Silverman DT, Schiffman M, Everhart J, Goldstein A, Lillemoe KD, Swanson GM et al (1999) Diabetes mellitus, other medical conditions and familial history of cancer as risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Br J Cancer 80(11):1830–1837CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wynder EL, Mabuchi K, Maruchi N, Fortner JG (1973) A case control study of cancer of the pancreas. Cancer 31(3):641–648CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Longnecker DS, Sumi C (1990) Effects of sex steroid hormones on pancreatic cancer in the rat. Int J Pancreatol 7(1–3):159–165PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Longnecker DS (1991) Hormones and pancreatic cancer. Int J Pancreatol 9:81–86PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bourhis J, Lacaine F, Augusti M, Huguier M (1987) Protective effect of oestrogen in pancreatic cancer. Lancet 2(8565):977CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Benz C, Hollander C, Miller B (1986) Endocrine-responsive pancreatic carcinoma: steroid binding and cytotoxicity studies in human tumor cell lines. Cancer Res 46(5):2276–2281PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Corbishley TP, Iqbal MJ, Wilkinson ML, Williams R (1986) Circulating sex steroids and sex hormone binding globulin in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Anticancer Res 6(2):219–222PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fyssas I, Syrigos KN, Konstandoulakis MM, Papadopoulos S, Milingos N, Anapliotou M et al (1997) Sex hormone levels in the serum of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Horm Metab Res 29(3):115–118CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Singh S, Baker PR, Poulsom R, Wright NA, Sheppard MC, Langman MJ et al (1997) Expression of oestrogen receptor and oestrogen-inducible genes in pancreatic cancer. Br J Surg 84(8):1085–1089CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Adami HO, Persson I, Hoover R, Schairer C, Bergkvist L (1989) Risk of cancer in women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Int J Cancer 44(5):833–839CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bueno de Mesquita HB, Maisonneuve P, Moerman CJ, Walker AM (1992) Anthropometric and reproductive variables and exocrine carcinoma of the pancreas: a population-based case-control study in The Netherlands. Int J Cancer 52(1):24–29CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cantor KP, Lynch CF, Johnson D (1993) Reproductive factors and risk of brain, colon, and other malignancies in Iowa (United States). Cancer Causes Control 4(6):505–511CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Duell EJ, Holly EA (2005) Reproductive and menstrual risk factors for pancreatic cancer: a population-based study of San Francisco Bay area women. Am J Epidemiol 161(8):741–747CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fernandez E, La Vecchia C, D’Avanzo B, Negri E (1995) Menstrual and reproductive factors and pancreatic cancer risk in women. Int J Cancer 62(1):11–14CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fernandez E, Gallus S, Bosetti C, Franceschi S, Negri E, La Vecchia C (2003) Hormone replacement therapy and cancer risk: a systematic analysis from a network of case-control studies. Int J Cancer 105(3):408–412CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Haines AP, Moss AR, Whittemore A, Quivey J (1982) A case-control study of pancreatic carcinoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 103(1):93–97CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Heuch I, Jacobsen BK, Albrektsen G, Kvale G (2008) Reproductive factors and pancreatic cancer risk: a Norwegian cohort study. Br J Cancer 98(1):189–193CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ji BT, Hatch MC, Chow WH, McLaughlin JK, Dai Q, Howe GR et al (1996) Anthropometric and reproductive factors and the risk of pancreatic cancer: a case-control study in Shanghai, China. Int J Cancer 66(4):432–437CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kalapothaki V, Tzonou A, Hsieh CC, Toupadaki N, Karakatsani A, Trichopoulos D (1993) Tobacco, ethanol, coffee, pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, and cholelithiasis as risk factors for pancreatic carcinoma. Cancer Causes Control 4(4):375–382CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Karlson BM, Wuu J, Hsieh CC, Lambe M, Ekbom A (1998) Parity and the risk of pancreatic cancer: a nested case-control study. Int J Cancer 77(2):224–227CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kreiger N, Lacroix J, Sloan M (2001) Hormonal factors and pancreatic cancer in women. Ann Epidemiol 11(8):563–567CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kvale G, Heuch I, Nilssen S (1994) Parity in relation to mortality and cancer incidence: a prospective study of Norwegian women. Int J Epidemiol 23(4):691–699CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    La Vecchia C, Negri E, Franceschi S, Parazzini F (1993) Long-term impact of reproductive factors on cancer risk. Int J Cancer 53(2):215–219CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lin RS, Kessler II (1981) A multifactorial model for pancreatic cancer in man. Epidemiologic evidence. JAMA 245(2):147–152CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lin Y, Kikuchi S, Tamakoshi A, Kawamura T, Inaba Y, Kurosawa M et al (2006) Association of menstrual and reproductive factors with pancreatic cancer risk in women: findings of the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk. J Gastroenterol 41(9):878–883CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lo AC, Soliman AS, El-Ghawalby N, Abdel-Wahab M, Fathy O, Khaled HM et al (2007) Lifestyle, occupational, and reproductive factors in relation to pancreatic cancer risk. Pancreas 35(2):120–129CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mack TM, Yu MC, Hanisch R, Henderson BE (1986) Pancreas cancer and smoking, beverage consumption, and past medical history. J Natl Cancer Inst 76(1):49–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Navarro Silvera SA, Miller AB, Rohan TE (2005) Hormonal and reproductive factors and pancreatic cancer risk: a prospective cohort study. Pancreas 30(4):369–374CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Prizment AE, Anderson KE, Hong CP, Folsom AR (2007) Pancreatic cancer incidence in relation to female reproductive factors: Iowa Women’s Health Study. JOP 8(1):16–27PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Skinner HG, Michaud DS, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC et al (2003) Parity, reproductive factors, and the risk of pancreatic cancer in women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 12(5):433–438PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Teras LR, Patel AV, Rodriguez C, Thun MJ, Calle EE (2005) Parity, other reproductive factors, and risk of pancreatic cancer mortality in a large cohort of U.S. women (United States). Cancer Causes Control 16(9):1035–1040CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Boyle P, Maisonneuve P, Bueno de Mesquita HB, Ghadirian P, Howe GR, Zatonski W et al (1996) Cigarette smoking and pancreas cancer: a case control study of the search programme of the IARC. Int J Cancer 67(1):63–71CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Howe GR, Ghadirian P, Bueno de Mesquita HB, Zatonski WA, Baghurst PA, Miller AB et al (1992) A collaborative case-control study of nutrient intake and pancreatic cancer within the search programme. Int J Cancer 51(3):365–372CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Duell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Maisonneuve
    • 3
  • Peter A. Baghurst
    • 4
  • H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
    • 5
  • Parviz Ghadirian
    • 6
  • Anthony B. Miller
    • 7
  • Witold Zatonski
    • 8
  • Alina Vrieling
    • 5
  • Paolo Boffetta
    • 2
  • Peter Boyle
    • 9
  1. 1.Unit of Nutrition, Environment and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research ProgrammeInstitut Català d’Oncologia (ICO), Catalan Institute of OncologyBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.International Agency for Research on CancerLyonFrance
  3. 3.European Institute of OncologyMilanItaly
  4. 4.Public Health Research UnitWomen’s and Children’s HospitalNorth AdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)BilthovenThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Unité de Recherche en ÉpidémiologieCentre de Recherche CHUMMontréalCanada
  7. 7.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.The Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center & Institute of OncologyWarsawPoland
  9. 9.International Prevention Research InstituteLyonFrance

Personalised recommendations