Hormone Replacement Linked to Lung Cancer Deaths

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Monday, September 21, 2009

MONDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women is associated with higher death rates from lung cancer, according to a study published early online Sept. 20 in The Lancet to coincide with the European Cancer Organisation meeting in Berlin. In a related study published the same day in the The Lancet, researchers found that pemetrexed is effective maintenance therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

Rowan T. Chlebowski, M.D., from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and colleagues examined the incidence of lung cancer in 16,608 postmenopausal women who had been randomly assigned to placebo or daily treatment with conjugated equine estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate. They found that the incidence of lung cancer was not significantly different in women receiving hormone treatment, but mortality from lung cancer was significantly higher, mostly due to more non-small-cell lung cancer deaths.

Tudor Ciuleanu, M.D., from the Oncological Institute Ion Chiricuta in Cluj, Romania, and colleagues randomly assigned 663 patients with stage IIIB or IV non-small-cell lung cancer who had not progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy to maintenance therapy with best supportive care plus either placebo or pemetrexed. They found that pemetrexed significantly improved progression-free and overall survival.

"Until the timing of maintenance therapy can be dissociated from major differences in access to effective therapies after first-line platinum-based therapy, this strategy merits being considered as a strong option, reflected by the recent approval of pemetrexed in this setting by both the European Medicines Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," write the authors of an editorial accompanying Ciuleanu's study.

Several authors of the first study reported financial or consulting relationships with drug companies. The second study was funded by Eli Lilly, and several authors reported financial relationships with Eli Lilly and other companies.

Abstract - Chlebowski
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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract - Ciuleanu
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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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