USC Study Associates
Estrogen with Breast Cancer - Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Risk
Increased Across Races
March 2nd 2006
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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