Reduced risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer in women with celiac disease

Women with celiac disease (CD) may be at decreased risk of female hormone-related cancers given the observed reduction in breast cancer seen in some cohorts. Using biopsy data from all 28 pathology departments in Sweden, we identified 17,852 women with CD who were diagnosed between 1969 and 2007. We used Cox regression model to estimate their risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer and then compared them with 88,400 age- and sex-matched controls. The results indicate that individuals with CD were at a lower risk for all three outcomes: breast cancer (hazard ratio, HR = 0.85; 95% CI = 0.72-1.01), endometrial cancer (HR = 0.60; 95% CI =0.41-0.86) and ovarian cancer (HR = 0.89; 95% CI =0.59-1.34). This inverse relationship was strengthened when we excluded the first year of follow-up beyond CD diagnosis (breast: HR = 0.82; 95% CI =0.68-0.99; endometrial: HR = 0.58; 0.39-0.87; ovarian cancer: HR = 0.72; 0.45-1.15). In conclusion, CD seems to be inversely related not only to breast cancer but also to endometrial and ovarian cancer. Potential explanations include shared risk factors and early menopause.

Authors: J.F. Ludvigsson, J. West, A. Ekbom, O. Stephansson

Source: Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. jonasludvigsson@yahoo.com