OBJECTIVE: It has been hypothesized that antidepressants may enhance cancer growth. Previous studies of antidepressant use and ovarian cancer have been inconsistent and have been limited in their ability to examine the association with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are currently the antidepressants most commonly prescribed. The objective of this paper was to evaluate whether women with ovarian cancer were more likely to report past use of antidepressants than control women.
METHODS: Antidepressant use was assessed in a population-based, case-control study of ovarian cancer (593 cases, 628 controls). Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with antidepressant use overall and by subcategories of antidepressants.
RESULTS: Antidepressant use was reported by 18% of cases and 20% of controls. No increased risk was observed for ever use of any type of antidepressant (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.7-1.2) or for SSRIs (OR 1.0, 95% CI 0.7-1.5). There also was no evidence of increased risk with longer duration of use. Our study had greater than 80% power to detect an OR as small as 1.5. Thus, even a modest increase in risk associated with antidepressant use can be excluded with these data.
CONCLUSION: Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that antidepressants do not have a significant effect on ovarian cancer risk. In particular, the data suggest that SSRIs, which are the most commonly used class of antidepressants, are not associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II-2