As part of the national survey on the tumorigenesis of oral contraceptive drugs conducted by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer, a histologic study was made of 94 cases of liver tumors in users and non-users of oral contraceptives. Pathologic criteria were established and then the slides were studied; the results were tabulated to determine the significance of each of the criteria as related to the use of contraceptives. These criteria included tumor size, peliosis hepatis, hemorrhage, necrosis, fibrosis, thrombosis, and vascular alterations of the intima and media.
Cases of focal nodular hyperplasia in pill users exhibited greater vascular alterations, fibrosis, peliosis, and tumor size as compared to focal nodular hyperplasia observed in non-pill users. In addition, hemorrhage, necrosis, and peliosis were much more common in hepatic cell adenoma than in focal nodular hyperplasia. In the material reported in this series there were no hepatic cell adenoma cases observed in non-pill users. Focal nodular hyperplasia cases exhibited an overwhelmingly greater degree of vascular intimal and medial alterations than hepatic cell adenoma. The results suggest that the effects of oral contraceptives on the liver may be primarily upon the vasculature.