New scientific statement evaluates benefits and risks of menopausal hormone therapy

June 21, 2010

The Endocrine Society presented its Scientific Statement on menopausal hormone therapy Monday in San Diego, Calif. at ENDO 2010: The 92nd Annual Meeting & Expo. The Scientific Statement, located at http://www.endo-society.org/journals/ScientificStatements/upload/jc-2009-2509v1.pdf, provides a comprehensive, objective evaluation of the benefits and risks associated with menopausal hormone therapy (MHT).

MHT is a new term for use of hormones for treatment of menopause and is now used rather than HRT or hormone replacement therapy. The major reasons for starting MHT are to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. MHT involves the use of one or more of a group of medications designed to boost levels of estrogen in the blood.

In the 1990s, MHT was being used increasingly to treat menopausal symptoms and reduce heart disease risk. The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Study, a study undertaken to determine whether MHT truly protected against heart disease and whether or not it increased breast cancer risk, reported that MHT led to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.

New data however suggests that reports from the WHI did not take a key factor into account, time after onset of menopause when MHT was started. The significance of this factor in determining the safety and efficacy of MHT prompted The Endocrine Society to issue the Scientific Statement.

"Before the WHI, MHT was believed to prevent heart disease, fractures, memory loss and dementia in addition to relieving uncomfortable menopausal symptoms," said Richard Santen, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Virginia and chair of the task force that authored the statement. "Following the WHI reports of increased health risks associated with MHT, MHT use declined by 80 percent. New data however shows that these health risks may not apply to all women using MHT, and that MHT may in fact be very beneficial to some women."

New data shows women starting menopausal hormone therapy a short time after onset of menopause at ages 50-59 respond differently than those starting MHT after age 60. Women in the short-time group using MHT for five years experienced a 30-40 percent decrease in mortality, no increased risk of heart disease and 90 percent reduction of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or overactive bladder.

"Some women in the short-time group still developed breast cancer but only with the combination of estrogen plus a progestogen, not with estrogen alone. This may be due to the stimulation and uncovering of very small, undiagnosed breast cancers, rather than causing these cancers de novo," said Santen.

"It is important to remember that most women considering MHT are between the ages of 50 and 55 and in this group MHT may have many benefits," said Santen. "Physicians and their patients need to re-think the use of menopausal hormone therapy based on data pertinent to the 50-55 year old and therapy should be individualized based on symptoms and underlying risks of breast cancer and heart disease."
-end-
The statement, "Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement," will be published in the July 2010 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The Endocrine Society

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.