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Menopause. 2007 May-Jun;14(3 Pt 1):391-6.

Effect of ultra-low-dose transdermal estradiol on breast density in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1University of California Women's Health Clinical Research Center, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.



Women with higher mammographic breast density have increased risk for breast cancer, and there is some evidence that a change in breast density may be a marker for change in risk for breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine whether 2 years of treatment with ultra-low-dose transdermal estradiol results in a change in breast density.


The Ultra-Low-dose Transdermal Estradiol Assessment was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 2 years of treatment with unopposed ultra-low-dose (0.014 mg/d) transdermal estradiol for prevention of osteoporosis in 417 postmenopausal women with no history of breast cancer who had not had a hysterectomy. We obtained mammograms at baseline and after 1 and 2 years of treatment from 276 of the participants. Right craniocaudal views were analyzed at a central radiology facility by a trained clinician blinded to treatment group and order of acquisition. Contour analysis was performed to define dense areas versus fatty tissue. Between-group differences in mean change in percent breast density from baseline to 1 and to 2 years of follow-up were assessed using linear regression models adjusted for clinical site.


Participants were 66 +/- 5 years old and 94% were white. The average percent breast density at baseline was 34%. There was no significant difference between treatment groups in change in percent breast density after 1 year (between-group difference, 0.1%; 95% confidence interval, -1.3% to 1.6%) or 2 years of treatment (0.8%; -0.6% to 2.1%).


Two years of treatment with ultra-low-dose transdermal estradiol did not increase breast density.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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