Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Women: Probable Lack of Etiologic Association with Oral Contraceptive Steroids

Authors

  • Zachary D. Goodman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Hepatic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. 20306
    • Zachary D. Goodman, MAJ, MC, USA, Department of Hepatic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. 20306.
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  • Kamal G. Ishak

    1. Department of Hepatic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. 20306
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  • The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

Abstract

To investigate the possibility of an association between oral contraceptive steroids (CS) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we reviewed 128 cases of HCC in women collected between 1953 and 1980. There were 48 cases under the age of 40, and 13 of these (27%) had used CS. However, 62% of HCC associated with CS and 58% of HCC in women under 40 not using CS were classified histologically as “fibrolamellar” carcinoma. This subtype of HCC occurs predominantly in young people, both male and female. The apparent increase in HCC in young women can be explained by the presence of cases of fibrolamellar carcinoma in this age group, and the apparent association with CS is probably coincidental.

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