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, 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.