Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Cuts Lung Cancer Risk

Decreased risk most significant for estrogen receptor-positive tumors

THURSDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women who've taken hormone replacement therapy have a lower risk of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and particularly estrogen receptor-positive tumors, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ann G. Schwartz, Ph.D., of the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, and colleagues conducted a study of women aged 18 to 74 years comprising 488 NSCLC patients, of whom 241 had tumor estrogen-receptor results, and 498 controls.

The researchers found that the longer postmenopausal women used hormone replacement therapy, the lower their odds of developing NSCLC. The inverse association was found most strongly for estrogen receptor-positive NSCLC. None of the study's hormone variables were found to be associated with estrogen receptor-negative NSCLC tumors.

"The multiple pathways of estrogen action, variation in response to estrogen by ER-α and ER-β in lung tissue, and the interplay between estrogen, estrogen receptor expression, smoking and metabolic enzyme expression in the lung underscore the complexity of investigations into the role of exogenous estrogen in lung cancer risk," the authors write. "However, untangling tumor characteristics holds the promise of targeted interventions and treatments for this disease."

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