Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause related symptoms may have a higher risk of developing lung cancer and dying.
Data from researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbour-UCLA Medical Center suggest that HRT, oestrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women, carries more health risks than benefits.
Researchers reviewed data that was taken from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a randomized, controlled study of 16,608 postmenopausal women. The study was stopped early because of the high risks that were discovered.
When the researchers followed up six years later, they found patients who used HRT compared to the women who used placebo had higher risks of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke and breast cancer, and a lower risk of fractures and colorectal cancers.
The eight-year follow-up showed more women using the hormone therapy died from lung cancer than the placebo group (73 vs 40 deaths). The women using HRT were 71 percent more likely to die from lung cancer.
“Treatment with oestrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women increased the number of deaths from lung cancer, in particular deaths from non-small cell lung cancer," study authors wrote. "These findings should be incorporated into risk-benefit discussions with women considering combined hormone therapy, especially those with a high risk of lung cancer such as current smokers or long-term past smokers."