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Hum Reprod Update. 2005 Nov-Dec;11(6):561-73. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Menopausal hormone therapy and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials.

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Epi. Consult GmbH., Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.


We conducted meta-analyses to assess the impact of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) on the risk of incident invasive breast cancer (BC) in cohort studies (CS), case-control studies (CCS) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published 1989-2004. We used published data providing information upon unopposed estrogen therapy (ET), estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT) or all MHT combined. Major outcomes were MHT-associated overall risk of BC and change of risk per year used. There is a linear increase of overall risk by midterm year of case ascertainment based upon data of all study types for MHT and to a larger extent for EPT, not for ET. Effects are larger in CS than in CCS. Meta-analyses stratified by <1992 versus > or =1992 as midterm year of case ascertainment indicate larger summary risks for the latter period for all MHT analysed, in particular for EPT. Annual increases in BC risk for EPT across study types are 0-9%, for ET 0-3%. In conclusion, there is evidence that relative risks for BC risks by MHT, in particular EPT, have been increasing in recent years. Given the widespread use of MHT, and often long duration, more detailed knowledge about differential BC risks of both estrogens and progestins are necessary to minimize BC risk in symptomatic women who consider MHT.

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