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HRT Ups Death Risk for Women With Lung Cancer
Date:5/30/2009

Shortened survival points to estrogen's potential role in the disease, experts say

SATURDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- The current use of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with a higher risk of dying for women diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, a new study shows.

The risk was highest in current smokers, less high in former smokers and least high in women who never smoked, say researchers reporting Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Orlando, Fla.

"This is a major concern," said study lead author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a medical oncologist with the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "In current smokers, one in 100 experience avoidable death from non-small cell lung cancer. Women almost certainly shouldn't be using both combined hormone replacement therapy and tobacco at the same time," he said at a Saturday ASCO news briefing.

"We want to do everything we can to prevent lung cancer," added Dr. Jeffrey Crawford, chief of medical oncology at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center in Durham, N.C. "But if you're a current or former smoker, in particular, this is another reason not to consider hormone replacement therapy."

According to Chlebowski, about 15 percent of postmenopausal women in the United States still take hormone therapy, although that is down from previous years.

The new results, based on data from the landmark Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial, relate only to the combined estrogen-plus-progestin regimen of hormone therapy, not to the use of estrogen on its own.

The findings do appear to be another blow for hormone replacement therapy, which has already been associated with an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer.

This new findings were based a secondary analysis of data on more than 16,600 women participating in the Women's Hea
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