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Ovarian Tumors May Develop Years After Fertility Therapy
Date:10/27/2011

THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo ovarian stimulation to produce extra eggs for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are at increased risk for a type of growth known as "borderline ovarian tumors," new research suggests.

Borderline ovarian tumors are typically not aggressive, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Even if the tumor does spread, the vast majority of women survive borderline ovarian tumors.

Even so, treating borderline ovarian tumors can require extensive surgery, explained lead researcher Flora van Leeuwen, head of the epidemiology department in The Netherlands Cancer Institute.

For the study, researchers examined data from over 19,000 infertile women in the Netherlands who underwent ovarian stimulation prior to IVF and about 6,000 infertile women who did not undergo IVF.

After 15 years of follow-up, the women who underwent ovarian stimulation were four times more likely to develop a borderline ovarian tumor, according to the findings published in the Oct. 27 online edition of the journal Human Reproduction.

"Our data clearly show that ovarian stimulation for IVF is associated with an increased risk of borderline ovarian tumors and this risk remains elevated up to more than 15 years after the first cycle of treatment," van Leeuwen explained in a journal news release.

Overall, however, the number of women developing any sort of ovarian tumor was low. The cumulative risk in the general population of an ovarian malignancy for women under age 55 in the Netherlands is 0.45 percent. For women who undergo IVF, it's 0.71 percent, "with the increase being due to borderline tumors of the ovary," van Leeuwen added.

The low number of women in the study who developed ovarian malignancies prevented the researchers from determining if repeated IVF cycles increased the risk of ovarian malignancies. They noted in the news release that they are expanding their stud
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