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Harefuah. 2004 Oct;143(10):753-6, 764.

[Hormone replacement therapy in breast cancer survivors: the Israeli Society for Clinical Oncology and Radiotherapy policy letter].

[Article in Hebrew]

Author information

  • 1Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA, USA. nsdanieli@geisinger.edy


The Israeli Society for Clinical Oncology and Radiotherapy appointed experts in breast cancer therapy to assess the Society's policy regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in breast cancer survivors with menopausal symptoms. The first policy letter was published in November 2002, and referred to available literature at that time which included retrospective data alone. The professional literature suggested no increased risk in breast cancer recurrence or cancer specific mortality, and no effect on overall survival with the use of HRT for a limited period (up to 3 years). This data served as the rationale for international prospective studies. Former committee recommendations and precautions are detailed in the original publication. In February 2004, the interim analysis of a prospective trial, the HABIT (Hormonal replacement therapy after breast cancer--is it safe?) was published. In that trial, breast cancer survivors with menopausal symptoms were randomized to HRT (estrogens with or without progestins) or no therapy for 2 years. A total of 434 women were recruited from centers in Scandinavia who participated with the International Breast Cancer and the European Organization for Research and Treatment groups. Analysis was restricted to 345 women with at least one follow up report; median follow-up period was 2.1 years. The relative risk for breast cancer event was 3.5 (95% C.I. 1.5-8.1) in HRT users as compared with the non-HRT group and the HABIT trial was terminated. Study limitations are discussed. Thereby, at this time HRT can no longer be considered safe in breast cancer survivors. Physicians treating breast cancer survivors for severe menopausal symptoms should present study results and alternative non-hormonal treatment options to allow patients optimized consented treatment decisions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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