Background: Menopausal hormone therapy formulations for women without hysterectomy have included estrogen plus progestin for years, but endometrial cancer risks associated with the use of sequential and continuous estrogen-plus-progestin regimens remain unclear.
Methods: The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study included 73,211 women who were ages 50 years to 71 years at baseline and who completed 2 questionnaires (1995-1996 and 1996-1997). Linkage to state cancer registries and mortality indices identified 433 incident endometrial cancers through 2000. Using proportional hazards regression, the authors estimated relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) relative to never-use of hormone therapy.
Results: In 51,312 women who never used hormones or only used estrogen-plus-progestin regimens at doses consistent with current practice, neither sequential estrogen plus progestin (daily estrogen plus progestin for 10-14 days per cycle: RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.39-1.40) nor continuous estrogen plus progestin (daily estrogen plus progestin for >/=20 days per cycle: RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.55-1.15) had any statistically significant association with endometrial cancer. Long durations (>/=5 years) of sequential regimen use (RR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.38-1.66) and of continuous regimen use (RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.53-1.36) were not associated with endometrial cancer.
Conclusions: Confirmation that these estrogen-plus-progestin regimens neither increase nor decrease the risk of endometrial cancer could influence menopausal symptom management for women who are considering estrogen-plus-progestin therapy.
(c) 2007 American Cancer Society.