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Combined HRT increases risk of lobular breast cancer fourfold after just 3 years of use
Date:1/14/2008

n in western Washington 1,044 breast-cancer cases (324 lobular, 196 mixed ductal-lobular and 524 ductal) and 469 controls. The researchers also confirmed tumor status through centralized examination of breast tissue.

The researchers found that current users of combined HRT had a 2.7-fold and 3.3-fold elevated risk of lobular and ductal-lobular cancer, respectively, regardless of tumor stage, size or number of lymph nodes involved. Only women who used combined HRT for three or more years faced an increased risk of lobular cancer. Among mixed ductal-lobular cases, hormone therapy increased the risk of tumors that were predominantly lobular but not tumors that had predominantly ductal characteristics.

The incidence of invasive lobular and ductal-lobular breast cancers has risen rapidly in the United States, increasing 52 percent and 96 percent, respectively, between 1987 and 1999, whereas rates of ductal cancer have increased only 3 percent during this time.

Our research suggests that the use of postmenopausal hormone-replacement therapy, specifically the use of combined estrogen-plus-progestin preparations, may be contributing to this increase, said Li, an associate member of the Hutchinson Centers Public Health Sciences Division.

While the number of postmenopausal women taking combined HRT long-term has dropped by about half in recent years due to Womens Health Initiative reports of health risks associated with such therapy, such as an increase in heart-disease and breast-cancer risk, a substantial number of women are still taking HRT to manage the symptoms of menopause.

These findings are still of considerable public-health importance considering the estimated 57 million prescriptions for menopausal hormone therapy that continue to be filled in the United States, Li said.


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Contact: Kristen Woodward
kwoodwar@fhcrc.org
206-667-5095
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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