Use of antidepressants and endometrial-cancer risk: a nationwide nested case-control study

Cecilie D Sperling, Gitte L Aalborg, Christian Dehlendorff, Søren Friis, Lina S Mørch, Susanne K Kjaer


BACKGROUND: Preclinical studies have suggested that antidepressant drugs may possess antineoplastic properties. In a nationwide case-control study, we examined the association between use of antidepressants and endometrial-cancer risk with a particular focus on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

METHODS: From the Danish Cancer Registry, we identified all women with a histologically verified diagnosis of endometrial cancer between 2000 and 2016, and, for each woman, 15 age-matched controls. We obtained information on use of SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and other antidepressants based on records of filled prescriptions from the National Prescription Register. Using conditional logistic regression, we calculated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between use of antidepressants and endometrial-cancer risk compared with non-use. In active comparator analyses, SSRI use was compared with TCA use.

RESULTS: The study population comprised 8164 cases and 122 432 controls. Compared with non-use, SSRI use was associated with an OR of 0.88 (95% CI 0.82-0.96) for endometrial cancer, whereas the association with TCA use was close to unity (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.90-1.22). Use of other antidepressants yielded an OR of 0.86 (95% CI 0.71-1.03). We observed no apparent trends in associations according to cumulative amount. The inverse association with SSRI use persisted when compared with TCA use (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-0.99).

CONCLUSIONS: Use of SSRIs was associated with a decreased risk of endometrial cancer, whereas no inverse association appeared with use of TCAs. The antineoplastic potential of SSRIs should be investigated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)799-806
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022


  • Antidepressants
  • chemoprevention
  • antineoplastic drugs
  • cancer risk
  • endometrial cancer
  • Endometrial Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Antidepressive Agents/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic/adverse effects


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