Risk is 50 percent higher in women who take estrogen plus progestin for more than 10 years

-- Rick Ansorge

Thursday, February 18, 2010 (Last Updated: 02/19/2010)

THURSDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who receive estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT), especially for long periods of time, may have an increased risk of lung cancer, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Christopher Slatore, M.D., of the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon, and colleagues studied 36,588 peri- and postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 76 years, who were enrolled in the Vitamins and Lifestyle Study in 2000 to 2002. During six years of follow-up, 344 of the women were diagnosed with lung cancer.

The researchers' adjusted analysis found that use of estrogen plus progestin for one to nine years was associated with an increased risk of incident lung cancer (hazard ratio, 1.27), and that estrogen plus progestin use for more than 10 years was associated with an even higher risk (hazard ratio, 1.48). They also found that women who took estrogen and progestin for longer periods of time were more likely to present with an advanced stage of lung cancer at diagnosis. They found no association between duration of unopposed estrogen therapy and an increased risk of lung cancer.

"These findings represent an important contribution to current evidence against HRT use, which may be useful for counseling women about their risk of developing lung cancer, as well as prompting further study about the biologic mechanisms underlying this association," the authors conclude.

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Specialties Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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