Cigarette Smoking and the Risk of Endometrial Cancer

Samuel M. Lesko, Lynn Rosenberg, David W. Kaufman, Susan P. Helmrich, Donald R. Miller, Brian Strom, David Schottenfeld, Neil B. Rosenshein, Robert C. Knapp, John Lewis, Samuel Shapiro

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Because of evidence of reduced estrogen excretion in the urine of women who smoke cigarettes and evidence linking estrogen levels to the risk of cancer of the female reproductive system, we evaluated the risk of endometrial cancer in relation to cigarette use in a hospital-based case–control study of 510 women with endometrial cancer (cases) and 727 women with other cancers (controls). The rate-ratio estimate (relative risk) for current smokers as compared with women who had never smoked was 0.7 (95 per cent confidence interval, 0.5 to 1.0), and for former smokers the estimate was 0.9 (0.6 to 1.2). For women currently smoking 25 or more cigarettes per day, the rate-ratio estimate was 0.5 (0.3 to 0.8). The effect of current smoking of at least 25 cigarettes per day appeared to be confined to postmenopausal women, among whom the estimate was 0.5 (0.2 to 0.9). Among premenopausal women the estimate was 0.9 (0.4 to 2.2), but the difference between these two estimates could have been due to chance. The data suggest that women who smoke heavily may have a lower risk of endometrial cancer than nonsmokers. The present findings do not have direct public health importance since cigarettes, overall, have serious deleterious effects. However, if these results are confirmed, elucidation of the underlying mechanisms whereby smoking reduces the risk would be of interest and might be useful in the development of strategies for preventing endometrial cancer. (N Engl J Med 1985; 313:593–6.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-596
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 5 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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