Hormone therapy use linked to benign breast condition
(21 November 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Women diagnosed with atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) have a three- to fivefold increased risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers led by Dr. Tehillah S. Menes from the Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York have discovered a link between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and increased risk of ADH, similar to the link seen between HRT and breast cancer risk. These results were published November 9 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The researchers looked at data from more than 2 million screening mammograms performed on women ages 40 and older between 1996 and 2005 that were collected by the NCI-funded Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. During that period, 1,064 women were diagnosed with ADH alone and 833 women were diagnosed with breast cancer with ADH (found in the same biopsy samples).
The rates of both ADH alone and breast cancer with ADH were significantly higher in women who were using HRT at the time of their diagnoses. The rates of ADH alone peaked in 1999 and then decreased over the study period, with a notable drop starting in 2002. The rates of breast cancer with ADH peaked in 2002 and then decreased slightly over the course of the study.
The use of postmenopausal HRT has declined in U.S. women since 2002, after results from the Women’s Health Initiative indicated an association between HRT use and breast cancer. Rates of ADH and cancer with ADH in this screened population have also decreased since 2002, and “This finding may be partially explained by the decrease in rates of use of postmenopausal [hormone therapy],” concluded the authors.
The cancers with ADH were more likely to be either ductal carcinoma in situ (non-invasive) or low-grade invasive cancers (which have a better prognosis compared to more advanced cancers) than cancers found without ADH during the same time period. This supports the theory that low-grade and high-grade breast cancers develop via separate pathways, explained Dr. Menes in a press release.
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