For citation purposes: Koumousidis A, Varras M, Sofoudis C, Salakos N. Evaluation of breast cancer occurrence in patients with previous in vitro fertilisation treatment. OA Women's Health 2013 Jun 01;1(1):8.



Evaluation of breast cancer occurrence in patients with previous in vitro fertilisation treatment

A Koumousidis, M Varras, C Sofoudis, N Salakos

Authors affiliations

(1) 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aretaieion Hospital, University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece

(2) Third Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology ‘Helena Venizelou’ General, Hospital-Maternity, Athens, Greece

* Corresponding author Email:;



Breast cancer affects mostly 50–69-year-old women, with a history of previous breast or colon cancer, subfertility, nulliparity, ionising radiation, late menopause, smoking, fatty diet and positive for malignancies family history. Researchers support the multiple, unsuccessful under in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, efforts to be an aetiologic factor for the disease. The aim of this review was to evaluate the breast cancer’s occurrence in correlation to previous IVF exposure for the treatment of subfertility.

Material and methods

We searched the web using several keywords, such as ‘ART/IVF/breast cancer/malignancies/BRCA 1-2 mutations’, and found lots of interesting articles, forums, blogs and case reports. All this data-warehouse became a very useful tool in our hands in order to proceed in the basic online analytical processing during data-mining of 86 breast cancer ‘web-cases’ surgically treated at least seven years after their last IVF treatment (association rules, sequence analysis, classification, clustering and forecasting regarding the type of the tumour (benign, malignant), the number of the previous IVF treatments and several involving in breast cancer factors (age, obesity, parity, history of ovarian, breast or colon cancer, smoking)).


Low cancer risk was found after IVF treatment in some studies, while other researchers observed higher malignancy rate in IVF patients compared with the risk in the general population. Several studies attributed the increased risk to the underlined pathology causing both the infertility and the malignancy, while several other scientific efforts are focused on findings proving higher rates for malignant tumours in the ART-treated patients. We noticed that this controversy is attributed to the lack of a systematic and worldwide-accepted classification in the cancer patients, who have undergone IVF treatment(s), in terms of several factors: age, body weight, parity, previous breastfeeding, habits and positive for malignancies history. Studies on these factors and their coactions in the malignant breast behaviour after IVF exposure should precede any data processing in order for the latter to become scientifically fertile.


If we classify the IVF-candidate women in terms of their personal and family history, we will find a way out of this controversy and eventually, minimise the various potential long-term breast malignant complications in IVF treatment through adequately informing our general population.

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