Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Timing of Commencing HRT Influences Breast Cancer Risk

Via Medscape:

January 31, 2011 — Breast cancer risk associated with combination hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is greater if the therapy is started soon after menopause, according to the results of the observational Million Women Study conducted in the United Kingdom...

...Among current users of estrogen–progestin formulations, the relative risks for breast cancer were greater if use began less than 5 years after menopause (relative risk [RR], 2.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.95 to 2.14) than if it began 5 years or more after menopause (RR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.38 to 1.70)...

...Overall, for women who used combination HRT, compared with control subjects, there was a 39% increase in the relative risk of developing breast cancer in the Million Women Study and a 26% increase in the WHI trial, which the editorialists call "consistent" findings...

"The question of the effect of estrogen-only formulation use on breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, even with longer-term hormone use, still stands unanswered," write the editorialists.

J Natl Cancer Inst. Published online January 28, 2011. Full text, Editorial
The other question that remains unanswered is what are the impact of other formulations of estrogen and progesteron supplementation for HRT.

For instance:
- Estrace & Prometrium
- "bioidentical" hormones (compounded)

Interestingly, here is an article that was published Feb '10 (epublished about 6 months ago) in the Gynecological Endocrinology Journal. This article looks at women who were administered natural estrogen plus progesterone with or without DHEA or testosterone. It is obviously not a long-term study looking at breast cancer incidence outcomes, but leaves one thinking "what if" and what would be the outcome should this be readily explored. Ethics may come into the equation, however, given the other mainstream evidence that has been published.


"Mental symptoms experienced upon presentation improved in 90% of the patients. Sixty percent of the patients, who had gained weight during menopause, lost an average of 14.8 lbs [SD 11.98 lbs]. Complications described with traditional HRT did not develop in this group of patients."


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Pharmacy History

"The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was ARIANA the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic treatise attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.[3]

Ancient Egyptian pharmacological knowledge was recorded in various papyri such as the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus of the 16th century BC.

The earliest known Chinese manual on materia medica is the Shennong Bencao Jing (The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic), dating back to the 1st century AD. It was compiled during the Han dynasty and was attributed to the mythical Shennong. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui tomb, sealed in 168 BC. Further details on Chinese pharmacy can be found in the Pharmacy in China article."

From Wikipedia:

Journal of Palliative Medicine - Table of Contents

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