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

, had suggested that breast cancers that develop in women taking hormone therapy were less advanced and had a lower risk of death.

However, the WHI researchers note in the JAMA paper that the influence of estrogen plus progestin on breast cancer mortality had not been addressed in the context of a randomized clinical trial, prior to WHI.

Their current study to answer that question was based on 12,788 surviving postmenopausal women who took part in the initial trial.

Results showed that combined hormone therapy increases the incidence of invasive breast cancer and that, more commonly, the cancers had spread to the lymph nodes. There also were more deaths attributed to breast cancer in those taking hormone therapy -- 2.6 versus 1.3 per 10,000 women. There also were more deaths from all causes in the women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer who were on hormone therapy -- 5.3 versus 3.4 per 10,000.

The trial also found that hormone therapy interfered with detection of breast cancer, leading to cancers being diagnosed at a more advanced stage.

"These findings related to increased mortality in estrogen plus progestin users were surprising," says Wactawski-Wende. "Prior studies had suggested that, although these women were diagnosed with breast cancer, their prognosis was more positive than those who were not on hormone therapy when diagnosed. This study emphasizes the importance of clinical trial data to understand the risks and benefits of taking hormone therapy."


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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-4606
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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