Effects of a short-term suspension of hormone replacement therapy on mammographic density

Fertil Steril. 2001 Sep;76(3):451-5. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(01)01967-7.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and of a short-term suspension of HRT on mammographic density.

Design: Prospective clinical study.

Setting: Outpatient menopausal clinic of the Second University of Naples.

Patient(s): Ninety-seven healthy postmenopausal women.

Intervention(s): Thirty-nine menopausal women with intact uterus (group A) were treated with continuous transdermal E(2) plus acetate nomegestrolo sequentially added, 37 women in surgical menopause (group B) were treated with transdermal E(2) continuously administered, and 21 menopausal women did not receive any medication (group C). At the entry and after 12 months, a mammography was performed without suspension of HRT (group A1: 19 women; group B1: 19 women) or after a short-term suspension (group A2: 20 women; group B2: 18 women).

Main outcome measure(s): Mammographic density evaluated according to a quantitative method.

Result(s): At the second mammography, seven patients in group A1, four patients in group B1, and one patient in both groups A2 and B2 showed an increase in mammographic density, whereas no mammographic density increase was observed in patients in group C. A statistically significant difference in the mammographic density increase was found between group A1 and group A2; no difference was found between group B1 and B2.

Conclusion(s): Suspension of HRT for about 3 weeks may reverse mammographic density increase associated with its use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Bone Density
  • Drug Combinations
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Mammography*
  • Megestrol*
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Norpregnadienes / administration & dosage
  • Parity
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Drug Combinations
  • Norpregnadienes
  • Estradiol
  • nomegestrol acetate
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Megestrol