Benign Breast Disease-Risk Stronger
for Proliferative Forms

The well-established risk of breast cancer associated with a history of benign breast disease is 2 to 4 times greater with proliferative rather than nonproliferative histology, researchers at Harvard Medical School report.

Reassuringly, findings from the same study also suggest that the risk in women with a history of proliferative benign breast disease is not further increased with use of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.

Dr. Celia Byrne and colleagues in Boston conducted a nested case-control study of 133 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 610 controls, all of whom had a history of benign breast disease and were enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study.

The investigators say in the November 15th issue of Cancer that, compared with women with a nonproliferative benign histology, the relative risk of developing breast cancer was 1.8 in women with a history of proliferative breast disease without atypical hyperplasia, and 3.6 in those with atypical hyperplasia.

These risks were unaffected by the use, or nonuse, of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, according to the report. Nonetheless, Dr. Byrne and colleagues stress that they "cannot exclude the possibility of an association between particular hormone combinations, dosages, and increased risk."

Dr. Byrne concludes in a related statement: "Menopausal women who consider the use of female hormone replacement therapy must continue to weigh the benefits of symptom relief against the potential for increased risks of breast and endometrial carcinomas."

Cancer 2000;89:2046-2052.

Thanks to Reuters Health


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