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Possible Fix for a Risky Hormone Mix

Ivanhoe Broadcast News

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The right combination of hormones could relieve menopause symptoms and reduce the risk for breast cancer, new research shows.

Currently, women in menopause who have symptoms but haven't had a hysterectomy are treated with a therapy that combines estrogen and progestin; but progestin can be a double-edged sword. Administering progestin to patients puts them at a greater risk for breast cancer, but giving estrogen to patients without progestin increases their risk for uterine cancer.

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Now, researchers at Yale say replacing progestin with a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) may be the solution. They treated breast and endometrial cell lines with either estrogen or estrogen plus a SERM. They then examined whether there was an increase in the levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a marker of cell growth.

The study shows breast and uterine cells aren't stimulated by the estrogen-SERN combination, and therefore it could offer the benefits of estrogen without the risk associated with progestin.

"These preliminary findings could lead to a better way of administering hormone therapy to women in menopause," Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., was quoted as saying.

Source: American Society for Reproductive Medicine scientific meeting, Atlanta, October 17-21, 2009

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Last updated 10/26/2009

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May 1, 2010
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