Hay Fever, Asthma Linked to Lower Prevalence of Ovarian and Cervical Cancer

Carole Bullock, MA

November 15, 2007

November 15, 2007 (Dallas) — Cervical and ovarian cancers are found less frequently in patients who have hay fever or asthma compared with patients without hay fever or asthma, according to a cross-sectional prevalence database, investigators reported here at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 65th Annual Meeting.

The study was presented by Terese Tran, DO, resident physician, Texas Tech University Heath School (TTUHS), Paul Foster School of Medicine, El Paso.

The study of 1,132,206 women aged 20 years or older discharged from a large Florida hospital with cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, or ovarian cancer in 2001 examined the link between those cancers and asthmas, hay fever, and allergic rhinitis. The study adjusted for confounders such as age, multiparity, and smoking.

According to the study, patients with hay fever had 91% lower odds of having ovarian cancer (adjusted prevalence odds ratios [POR], 0.09; P = .02).

Patients with asthma had a 44% reduction in the odds of having cervical cancer compared with patients free of asthma and hay fever (adjusted POR, 0.56; P < .0001).

Senior author Zuber Mulla, DO, associate professor, obstetrics and gynecology, TTUHS, said the large hospital database provided the opportunity to explore risk factors for cancer.

"Our findings come from an observational study, and we can't explain the mechanism of the associations. We do know that cytokines, which are elevated in allergic conditions, might have a cancer-protective effect," Dr. Mulla told Medscape Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

The study received no commercial support. Dr. Tran and Dr. Mulla have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 65th Annual Meeting: Abstract 14. Presented November 12, 2007.

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