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Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Precursor Link Studied

Decline in HRT use paralleled decline in atypical ductal hyperplasia, a breast cancer precursor

MONDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A decline in the use of postmenopausal hormone treatment (HT) in the past decade may be a factor in the decreased incidence of atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), a suspected precursor of some breast cancers, according to a study in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Tehillah S. Menes, M.D., of Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York, and colleagues gathered data from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium on screening mammograms conducted from 1996 to 2005. The researchers analyzed the data for associations between ADH, breast cancer with and without ADH, postmenopausal HT, age and family history of breast cancer.

The researchers found the rates of ADH decreased in parallel with a decrease in the use of HT over the study period. ADH rates dropped from a peak of 5.5 per 10,000 mammograms in 1999 to 2.4 per 10,000 in 2005, and the rates for breast cancer with ADH decreased from a peak of 4.3 per 10,000 mammograms in 2003 to 3.3 per 10,000 in 2005. Meanwhile, postmenopausal HT use decreased from 35 percent to 11 percent during the same study period.

"Postmenopausal HT is associated with an increased risk of ADH with or without cancer. Rates of ADH have decreased over the past decade, which may be partially explained by the significant reduction in use of postmenopausal HT," the authors conclude.

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