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July 3, 1996

Pregnancy Termination and Risk of Breast Cancer-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center Madison, Wis
UCLA School of Public Health Los Angeles, Calif
Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1996;276(1):31-32. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540010033025

In Reply.  —Dr Henshaw provides additional population-based information on abortion services in the United States and concludes, as we do in the abstract of our article, that the association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk may be due to reporting bias and was not significantly different than the slight risk for spontaneous abortion. Henshaw's estimates of the underascertainiment of induced abortion underscores the degree to which studies such as ours are susceptible to bias and the need for prospective investigations.Dr Lehrer suggests that an inherited variant of the estrogen receptor gene may identify women at increased risk of breast cancer because of a history of spontaneous abortion.1 The importance of these observations is unclear because the original relation between this polymorphism and spontaneous abortion has not been confirmed,2 and Lehrer's subsequent findings3 were based on small numbers of patients in selected subsets. While it remains a