Objective: Risk factors for ovarian borderline tumors and low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSC) are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the association between infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, hysterectomy, tubal ligation and parity and the risk of serous borderline tumor (SBT), mucinous borderline tumor (MBT) and LGSC.

Methods: This was a population-based cohort study using linked administrative and hospital data. Participants were 441,382 women born between 1945 and 1975 who had been admitted to hospital in Western Australia between 1 January 1980 and 30 June 2014. We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs).

Results: We observed an increased rate of SBT associated with infertility, PID and ectopic pregnancy (HRs and 95% CIs were, respectively, 1.98 (1.20–3.26); 1.95 (1.22–3.10) and 2.44 (1.20–4.96)). We did not detect an association between any of the factors under study and the rate of MBT. A diagnosis of PID was associated with an increased rate of LGSC (HR 2.90, 95% CI 1.21–6.94).

Conclusions: The association with PID supports the hypothesis that inflammatory processes within the upper gynaecological tract and/or peritoneum may predispose to the development of SBT and LGSC.


ovarian cancer, data linkage, epidemiology, biostatistics, risk factors

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