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Hormone therapy increases invasive breast cancer and mortality, WHI 11-year follow up finds
Date:10/20/2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Results of a new Women's Health Initiative (WHI) report show that hormone therapy is associated with an increased the risk of death from breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, professor of social and preventive medicine at the University at Buffalo and one of the primary authors on the paper, published today in JAMA, says the breast cancers found in these women also tended to have more lymph node involvement, indicating a poorer prognosis.

"This report, which expands on earlier results of the WHI study, followed these women for an average of 11 years," says Wactawski-Wende. "The data show that, with further follow-up, there remains an increased incidence of breast cancer in women taking estrogen plus progestin.

"In fact, women taking estrogen plus progestin are more likely to die from breast cancer and from other causes than women who did not take these hormones."

The paper was posted online Oct. 19 at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/304/15/1684.

Wactawski-Wende was co-PI at UB's WHI Vanguard Center, one of 16 that helped develop the initial protocols for the study, which began in 1993 and eventually included 40 clinical centers across the U.S. Initially planned to continue until 2005, the hormone trial was halted in 2002 because preliminary analysis of the data showed estrogen plus progestin increased the risk of heart disease, stroke and invasive breast cancer. Prior to WHI, scientists speculated that hormone therapy reduced heart disease risk.

The WHI continued to follow these women after the main trial ended. The current JAMA paper reports the results of research conducted during this WHI extension phase. Most of the earlier observational studies, which follow participants over time and collect health information at specific intervals
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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-4606
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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