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Pharmaceutical Agents and Exogenous Hormones

Pharmaceutical agents may increase or decrease cancer risk. DCEG researchers actively investigate the use of over-the-counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly known as NSAIDs), or prescription drugs like those that reduce cholesterol levels.  

Exogenous hormones, like those commonly found in oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy, or more rarely in medications like diethylstilbestrol (DES), are also associated with cancer risk. DCEG researchers evaluate the use of these medications, as well as how they relate to other factors to influence risk of breast, ovarian, or other cancers. Examples of studies include:

Bone Density and Cancer Risk: A Follow-Up Study of Women in the Fracture Intervention Trial (BFIT)

A retrospective cohort study that uses data from the FIT clinical trial to evaluate how bone mineral density of the hip is related to subsequent cancer risk; including a nested case-cohort study of circulating sex steroid hormones in relation to breast, endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancer risk

Columbia, Missouri Serum Bank Follow-up Study

A study established as part of NCI's Biological Markers Project to identify serum markers for breast cancer

DES Follow-up Study

Since 1992, DCEG and other NCI investigators, along with collaborators from five field study centers, have been actively following diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposed and unexposed mothers, daughters and sons, and granddaughters for adverse health effects resulting from this exposure. As DES-exposed offspring are currently reaching the age when cancer rates begin to rise, it is important to continue to monitor the long-term risk of cancer and other adverse health outcomes in this unique population.

Follow-up Studies of Women Evaluated and Treated for Infertility

Retrospective cohort studies of women treated for infertility with ovulation-stimulating drugs to evaluate risk of breast and gynecologic cancers

Ultrasound Study of the Effects of Tamoxifen on Breast Tissue

A study using ultrasound tomography to define the time course of volumetric breast density changes among women receiving tamoxifen treatment