Research Article| Volume 49, ISSUE 1, P90-96, September 24, 2004

Lessons to be learned from clinical studies on hormones and the breast


      Estrogen is a well-known mitogen in human breast epithelium but the action of progestogen is complex and incompletely understood. During the last years, accumulating data from animal, clinical and observational studies suggest a proliferative effect in breast tissue when progestogen is added to estrogen. Findings in surrogate markers like breast density add to clinical and epidemiological reports indicating that continuous combined HRT may carry a higher risk of breast cancer than treatment with estrogen alone. Whether the results are valid for all progestogens remains to elucidated. It is also clear that not all women respond in the same way to the same treatment and the biological basis for the marked individual variation in breast response has to be clarified. Further knowledge about the role of androgens and of the impact of different treatment regimens is important and prospective randomized clinical studies are needed.


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