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Women who underwent bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with a benign hysterectomy had a higher 10-year mortality across all ages than those who had hysterectomies alone, based on data from more than 140,000 individuals.

Although bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) with hysterectomy has been shown to reduce the risk for ovarian cancer in women at increased risk, current guidelines are touting ovarian conservation, especially in premenopausal women, wrote Mathilde Gottschau, MD, of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, pepcid complete espaсa Copenhagen, and colleagues. However, post-hysterectomy outcomes in women with and without BSO have not been well examined.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers reviewed data from a nationwide registry of women in Denmark aged 20 years and older who underwent benign hysterectomies with BSO (22,974 women) and without BSO (120,011 women) between 1977 and 2017. The women were divided into subgroups based on age; those younger than 45 years were defined as premenopausal, those aged 45-54 years were defined as perimenopausal, those aged 55-64 were defined as early postmenopausal, and those aged 65 and older were defined as late menopausal.

The primary outcomes were hospitalization for cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence, and all-cause mortality over a median follow-up period of 22 years.

For women younger than 45 years, the 10-year cumulative risk for all cancer was lower with BSO than without, but the risk of overall cardiovascular disease was higher with BSO, with higher levels of ischemic heart disease and stroke, compared with women without BSO. The 10-year cumulative mortality was higher with BSO than without (2.16% vs. 1.94%).

For women aged 45-54 years, the 10-year cumulative cancer risk was higher in those with BSO than those without BSO (risk difference, 0.73 percentage points) associated mainly with nonbreast cancer, and both 10-year and 20-year mortality were higher in those with BSO than those without.

For women aged 55-65 years, the 10-year cumulative cancer risk was higher in those with BSO than those without BSO. Cumulative overall mortality was higher at 10 years for those with BSO, but lower at 20 years.

For women aged 65 years and older, both 10-year and 20-year cumulative overall cancer risk was higher with BSO than without (RD, 2.54 and 4.57 percentage points, respectively). Cumulative mortality was higher in the BSO group at 10 years, but lower at 20 years.

The study findings were limited by several factors including the use of age to determine menopausal status and the lack of genetic predisposition data, and the focus only on a relatively homogeneous population that may not be generalizable to other populations, the researchers noted.

However, the results were strengthened by the use of a nationwide registry and the long-term follow-up period, they said. The current study indicates that the health risks outweigh the potential benefits of BSO with benign hysterectomy for premenopausal women and supports the current guidelines for ovarian conservation in these women with low lifetime ovarian cancer risk, they said. For postmenopausal women, the data support a cautious approach to BSO given the lack of a clear survival benefit and cancer excess, they concluded.

Delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancers favors BSO

“The question of removing ovaries at the time of benign hysterectomy to prevent ovarian cancer in low-risk women has been widely debated,” which has contributed to the variation in incidence rates of unilateral and bilateral oophorectomy over time, wrote Elizabeth Casiano Evans, MD, of the University of Texas, San Antonio, and Deslyn T.G. Hobson, MD, of Wayne State University, Detroit, in an accompanying editorial.

Ovarian cancer often goes undiagnosed until an advanced stage, and BSO can significantly reduce risk in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, they noted.

For women without increased risk, those who are premenopausal may wish to preserve ovarian function, but women also may benefit from improvements in a range of menopause-related symptoms including vasomotor and urogenital symptoms, sexual dysfunction, and psychiatric and cognitive symptoms, they said.

“In addition, salpingectomy alone has a role in significantly reducing ovarian cancer incidence without compromising ovarian function because the fallopian tube has been found to be at the origin of many ovarian cancer cases,” they noted. In the current study, “the crude ovarian cancer risk was lower with BSO” across all age groups, the editorialists said.

The choice of whether to include BSO at the time of benign hysterectomy is complicated, with many factors to consider, the editorialists wrote, and the current study supports the need for informed, shared decision-making between clinicians and patients.

The study was supported by the Danish Cancer Society’s Scientific Committee and the Mermaid Project. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose. The editorial authors had no financial conflicts to disclose.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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