Does new breast pain during HT signal increased BrCa risk?

November 1, 2006

New-onset breast discomfort has been linked to an increase in breast tissue density on mammography in postmenopausal women taking combination hormone therapy, which in turn is associated with an increased threat of breast cancer, according to the findings of a recent UCLA study.

New-onset breast discomfort has been linked to an increase in breast tissue density on mammography in postmenopausal women taking combination hormone therapy, which in turn is associated with an increased threat of breast cancer, according to the findings of a recent UCLA study.

Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, and colleagues used data from the Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions Mammographic Density Study, which involved mammograms for almost 600 women between the ages of 45 and 64 years.

Compared with women without new-onset breast discomfort, the researchers found that women taking estrogen/progestin combination therapy with new-onset discomfort had a significant increase in percent breast density at 12 months (0.6% vs. 3.9%; β=0.033, P<0.001).

Crandall CJ, Karlamangla A, Huang MH, et al. Association of new-onset breast discomfort with an increase in mammographic density during hormone therapy. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1578-1584.

Commentary by Victoria Green, MD, MBA, JD, Associate Professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.:

Although the study involved a short surveillance period, this appears to be the first data gathered in a placebo-controlled, randomized, blinded design to review self-reported breast discomfort where increased mammographic breast density was also linked to late age at first delivery and increased postmenopausal BMI. Ultimately, further research must determine whether increased mammographic density in the context of hormone therapy definitely heralds an increased risk of breast cancer.