Skip to content

Endometriosis Health Center

Endometriosis Treatment Danger

Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

March 19, 2002 -- A drug used to combat endometriosis may increase a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer. Researchers have found that women taking danazol are three times more likely to get the disease than if they take an alternate drug.

The team from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented their findings March 17 at a gynecologic oncologists meeting in Miami.

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which pieces of the uterine lining -- the endometrium -- migrate outside the uterus and grow abnormally.

Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology, and colleagues reviewed pooled data from two studies including more than 1,300 women with ovarian cancer and nearly 2,000 similarly aged healthy women. They looked at the relationship between endometriosis, endometriosis treatments, and ovarian cancer.

In all, 195 of the women with cancer and 195 of the healthy women had been treated for endometriosis. Women with endometriosis were one and a half times more likely than those without endometriosis to have ovarian cancer.

The researchers found that women with endometriosis who'd taken danazol were nearly three times more likely than were women who'd taken another drug to have ovarian cancer. This link held even after taking into account various factors known to influence the risk of getting ovarian cancer including having been on the pill, having had a baby, and having a family history of the disease.

"Our previous studies have found that women with endometriosis are already at a 50% increased risk for ovarian cancer, and treating them with danazol appears to further increase their risk. This new result, even though it is preliminary, may factor into the equation when [doctors] and their patients with endometriosis are deciding on the best treatment," says Ness in a news release.

Today on WebMD

Endometriosis Overview
Slideshow
mature woman with serious expression
Article
 
Distracted woman
Article
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Article
 
pelivic pain slideshow
Article
teen girl looking at question mark
Article
 
uterus and inlay of fibroids
Article
woman talking to doctor
Article
 
Doctor discussing screening with patient
Article
young woman with thoughtful expression
Article
 
contraceptive pills
Article
Teenage girl with heat pad on stomach
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections