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USC Study Associates Estrogen with Breast Cancer - Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Risk Increased Across Races

March 2nd 2006

UCLA Study Associates Estrogen with Breast Cancer - Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Risk Increased Across Races

Breast Cancer Cell

A new study says that there is an increased risk of breast cancer across ethnic groups in postmenopausal women treated with estrogen or estrogen-progestin therapy.  An earlier study suggested that estrogen-progestin therapy increased the risk of breast cancer.  The new study indicates the increased risk covers other ethnic groups as well.

The data was extrapolated from the Multiethnic Cohort Study of more than 55,000 women used to investigate the relationship between menopausal hormone therapy use and breast cancer risk.  This research shows a significant 29 percent increased risk of breast cancer over a 5 year period with current use of estrogen-progestin.  Previously it was believed the increased risk was only 10 percent.

Although the researchers found the increased risk of breast cancer among all ethnic groups with estrogen-progestin use, they did not find an increased risk among African American women using estrogen only. 


Backing up the earlier study by Judith Hsia, M.D., of George Washington University, Washington, D.C., the USC researchers did not find any association between past estrogen use and any significant increased risk of breast cancer.    

"Findings from our study are consistent with previous literature of an association between hormone therapy use in breast cancer, in particular, an increase in risk associated with current estrogen-progestin therapy use," Dr. Malcolm Pike of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, wrote in the International Journal of Cancer.


There was an interesting finding in the new study.  There was a increased breast cancer risk associated with current estrogen-progestin and estrogen use for women with a body mass index (BMI) below 25.  There was also an increased risk for women in the higher BMIs as well.

The investigators concluded that there was an greater risk of advanced disease associated with current estrogen-progestin use.  Both estrogen-progestin use and estrogen use were “significantly” associated with estrogen receptor-positive tumors.

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By Dan Wilson
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