Schierbeck LL, Rejnmark L, Tofteng CL, et al. Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: randomised trial. BMJ. 345: e6409

Department of Endocrinology, Hvidovre Hospital, Kettegård alle 30, 2650 Hvidovre, Denmark.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 17.45). 10/2012; 345(oct09 2):e6409. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e6409
Source: PubMed


To investigate the long term effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in recently postmenopausal women.
Open label, randomised controlled trial.
Denmark, 1990-93.
1006 healthy women aged 45-58 who were recently postmenopausal or had perimenopausal symptoms in combination with recorded postmenopausal serum follicle stimulating hormone values. 502 women were randomly allocated to receive hormone replacement therapy and 504 to receive no treatment (control). Women who had undergone hysterectomy were included if they were aged 45-52 and had recorded values for postmenopausal serum follicle stimulating hormone.
In the treatment group, women with an intact uterus were treated with triphasic estradiol and norethisterone acetate and women who had undergone hysterectomy received 2 mg estradiol a day. Intervention was stopped after about 11 years owing to adverse reports from other trials, but participants were followed for death, cardiovascular disease, and cancer for up to 16 years. Sensitivity analyses were carried out on women who took more than 80% of the prescribed treatment for five years.
The primary endpoint was a composite of death, admission to hospital for heart failure, and myocardial infarction.
At inclusion the women on average were aged 50 and had been postmenopausal for seven months. After 10 years of intervention, 16 women in the treatment group experienced the primary composite endpoint compared with 33 in the control group (hazard ratio 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.26 to 0.87; P=0.015) and 15 died compared with 26 (0.57, 0.30 to 1.08; P=0.084). The reduction in cardiovascular events was not associated with an increase in any cancer (36 in treated group v 39 in control group, 0.92, 0.58 to 1.45; P=0.71) or in breast cancer (10 in treated group v 17 in control group, 0.58, 0.27 to 1.27; P=0.17). The hazard ratio for deep vein thrombosis (2 in treated group v 1 in control group) was 2.01 (0.18 to 22.16) and for stroke (11 in treated group v 14 in control group) was 0.77 (0.35 to 1.70). After 16 years the reduction in the primary composite outcome was still present and not associated with an increase in any cancer.
After 10 years of randomised treatment, women receiving hormone replacement therapy early after menopause had a significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or myocardial infarction, without any apparent increase in risk of cancer, venous thromboembolism, or stroke. NCT00252408.

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Available from: Louise Schierbeck, Jul 11, 2015
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    • "Recently, healthcare agencies in the United States and Europe have concluded that HRT is not suitable for primary prevention of chronic diseases [32] [33] [34] [35]. Although there is some evidence that use of HRT protects against cardiovascular disease if started early in menopause [36] [37], a recent Cochrane review of 19 cardiovascular trials concluded that use of HRT in postmenopausal women overall " has little if any benefit " in either primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and causes an increase in the risk of stroke and venous thromboembolic events [38]. Thus, HRT should primarily be used for the short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms [32] [33] [34] [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The 4th edition of the European Code against Cancer recommends limiting - or avoiding when possible - the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because of the increased risk of cancer, nevertheless acknowledging that prescription of HRT may be indicated under certain medical conditions. Current evidence shows that HRT, generally prescribed as menopausal hormone therapy, is associated with an increased risk of cancers of the breast, endometrium, and ovary, with the risk pattern depending on factors such as the type of therapy (oestrogen-only or combined oestrogen-progestogen), duration of treatment, and initiation according to the time of menopause. Carcinogenicity has also been established for anti-neoplastic agents used in cancer therapy, immunosuppressants, oestrogen-progestogen contraceptives, and tamoxifen. Medical use of ionising radiation, an established carcinogen, can provide major health benefits; however, prudent practices need to be in place, with procedures and techniques providing the needed diagnostic information or therapeutic gain with the lowest possible radiation exposure. For pharmaceutical drugs and medical radiation exposure with convincing evidence on their carcinogenicity, health benefits have to be balanced against the risks; potential increases in long-term cancer risk should be considered in the context of the often substantial and immediate health benefits from diagnosis and/or treatment. Thus, apart from HRT, no general recommendations on reducing cancer risk were given for carcinogenic drugs and medical radiation in the 4th edition of European Code against Cancer. It is crucial that the application of these measures relies on medical expertise and thorough benefit-risk evaluation. This also pertains to cancer-preventive drugs, and self-medication with aspirin or other potential chemopreventive drugs is strongly discouraged because of the possibility of serious, potentially lethal, adverse events.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
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    • "For example, E2 can, under certain conditions, not only enhance mammary epithelium proliferation but also stimulate apoptosis thus inhibiting cancer progression [96] [97]. Recent observations reported that taking of E2 as well as conjugated estrogens by postmenopausal women who had undergone hysterectomy either did not influence or even reduced breast cancer risk [98] [99]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The involvement of estrogens, which influence many physiologic processes, has been shown in the development or progression of several diseases including some cancers, most notably breast cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Estrogenic signal is transferred via estrogen receptors (ER) which have dual localization, predominantly intracellular but also in plasma membrane. The discovery of membrane-associated ER (mER) has greatly expanded our understanding of estrogen action; upon ligand binding, mER rapidly activate different signaling pathways inducing downstream transcription factors. Some target genes of the mER pathway may be activated independently of the intracellular ER. Additionally, intracellular ER action can be modulated by mER-initiated signaling. Most notably, the identification of autoantibodies reacting with ER (ERAB) and their possible pathogenic role in autoimmunity and cancer have opened a new path for the research in the estrogen-related receptor activity. In this review, we briefly recapitulate the localization and function of ER and mostly discuss the possible role of ERAB as novel potential prognostic and/or predictive tools in autoimmunity and cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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    • "2013 opened with the publication of an editorial [3] about the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations against using hormone therapy for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women[4]. The editorial also commented on the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study DOPS [5] published after the systematic review [4], that showed cardiovascular benefits and no apparent harms; the methodological limits of the DOPS, underlined by the editorial’s authors, led them to conclude that the USPSTF recommendations remained sound. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hormone therapy (HT) in the menopause is still a tricky question among healthcare providers, women and mass media. Informing women about hormone replacement therapy was a Consensus Conference (CC) organized in 2008: the project Know the Menopause has been launched to shift out the results to women and healthcare providers and to assess the impact of the cc's statement. And Findings: The project, aimed at women aged 45-60 years, was developed in four Italian Regions: Lombardy, Tuscany, Lazio, Sicily, each with one Local Health Unit (LHU) as "intervention" and one as "control". Activities performed were: survey on the press; training courses for health professionals; educational materials for target populations; survey aimed at women, general practitioners (GPs), and gynaecologists; data analysis on HT drugs' prescription. Local activities were: training courses; public meetings; dissemination on mass media. About 3,700 health professionals were contacted and 1,800 participated in the project. About 146,500 printed leaflets on menopause were distributed to facilitate the dialogue among women and health care professionals. Training courses and educational cascade-process activities: participation ranged 25- 72% of GPs, 17-71% of gynaecologists, 14-78% of pharmacists, 34-85% of midwives. Survey: 1,281 women interviewed. More than 90% believed menopause was a normal phase in life. More than half did not receive information about menopause and therapies. HT prescription analysis: prevalence fell from 6% to 4% in five years. No differences in time trends before-after the intervention. Major limitations are: organizational difficulties met by LHU, too short time for some local activities. A huge amount of information was spread through health professionals and women. The issue of menopause was also used to discuss women's wellbeing. This project offered an opportunity to launch a multidisciplinary, multimodal approach to menopause looking not only at pharmacological aspects, but also at quality of life and information.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
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