Cancer diagnosis among women with recurrent pregnancy loss: a retrospective cohort study

Adva Cahen-Peretz, Jigal Haas, Efrat Hadi, Howard Carp, Anat Hershko Klement*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research question: What is relationship between unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) and risk of cancer morbidity? Design: A retrospective observational cohort study was conducted, based on data from a tertiary medical centre. RPL cases (exposed) were defined as women presenting with three or more unexplained confirmed pregnancy losses at 5–24 weeks, whose first visit to the RPL clinic was between 1990 and 2010. The unexposed group included women giving birth who were not RPL patients; these were matched by age and year of giving birth/admission (1:5 ratio). Data from the RPL and the live birth registries were cross-linked to the Israeli national cancer registry according to the unique ID number and merged into one database. Results: The study group comprised 937 RPL patients who were matched by maternal age (P = 1.0) and admission date (P = 0.84) to 4685 women achieving a live birth. There was no difference in overall cancer incidence between groups (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.55–1.03; P = 0.08). The secondary RPL group showed a trend towards decreased cancer morbidity incidence compared with primary RPL (adjusted OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.41–1.03; P = 0.07). Analysis by cancer type showed a similar risk for breast cancer among women with RPL compared with live birth, but a significantly lower risk for gynaecological cancers among women with RPL (adjusted OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.08–0.79; P = 0.018). Conclusions: Unexplained RPL may be related to a lower risk of gynaecological cancers, possibly explained by hyper-responsive immunological mechanisms involving uterine natural killer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1062
Number of pages6
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Gynaecological cancer
  • Recurrent pregnancy loss


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