Estrogen-replacement therapy in patients with previous endometrial carcinoma

Compr Ther. 1990 Jan;16(1):28-35.


For patients with previous endometrial cancer, ERT is not the accepted practice in the U.S. The therapeutic dictum that estrogen is contraindicated in patients with previous uterine adenocarcinoma is, however, not substantiated by clinical data. The relation of unopposed estrogen stimulation to endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma, and the published studies relating ERT to endometrial cancer, have resulted in the clinical perception--and cautionary statements to that effect--that estrogen is contraindicated for patients with a history of endometrial carcinoma. The exact biologic effects of ERT on endometrial adenocarcinoma have not yet been studied adequately, however; the initial clinical data suggest that there is no increase in recurrence or mortality. In the meantime, the clinician is left with contradictory data as a basis for determining the proper management of symptomatic patients. The total impact of estrogen deficiency on the health of women and the ratio of benefits and risks of ERT are yet to be defined completely. The preponderance of evidence suggests that estrogen has a beneficial effect on the major cause of death in women, coronary heart disease, by increasing the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) fraction of cholesterol. It is established that estrogen prevents the demineralization of bone and delays the ravages of osteoporosis. No one has died from vaginal atrophy, bladder dysfunction, or hot flashes; the quality of life and marriage have been improved, however, by relieving these symptomatic conditions with ERT. Several studies have attempted to analyze with various statistical models the ratio of benefits to risks, and the majority of authors have concluded that the beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease alone clearly outweighs any known risk.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / classification
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Endometriosis / classification
  • Endometriosis / drug therapy*
  • Estradiol / therapeutic use
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Estrone / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Risk Factors


  • Estrone
  • Estradiol