Use of hormone therapy and isoflavones and mammographic density in Spain

Menopause. 2016 May;23(5):556-64. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000569.


Objective: The use of some forms of hormone therapy (HT) is associated with an increase in mammographic density-a major risk factor for breast cancer. The role of isoflavones, however, is unclear. Here, we quantify the prevalence of HT and isoflavone use among postmenopausal Spanish women, determine associated risk factors, and explore the relationship between these therapies and mammographic density.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 2,754 postmenopausal women who underwent breast cancer screening in seven geographical areas. Mammographic density was evaluated using Boyd's semiquantitative scale. Multinomial logistic regression models were adjusted to assess risk factors associated with both therapies. Ordinal regression models were fitted to study the association between HT and isoflavone consumption with mammographic density.

Results: The prevalence of ever-use of HT was 12%, whereas that of the current use was 2.3%. Isoflavone lifetime prevalence was 3.7%, and current use was 1.7%. The most common HT types were tibolone and estrogens. Surgical menopause, oral contraceptive use, educational level, population density, and years since menopause were positively associated with HT, whereas body mass index and parity were inversely associated. Mammographic density was not associated with current or past HT use. However, women who reported having consumed isoflavones in the past and those who started their use after menopause had a higher mammographic density when compared with never-users (odds ratio 1.98, 95% CI 1.21-3.25, P = 0.007; and odds ratio 1.60, 95% CI 1.01-2.53, P = 0.045 respectively).

Conclusions: Our results show a low prevalence of HT and isoflavone use in postmenopausal Spanish women. In this population, HT use was not associated with mammographic density, whereas some categories of isoflavone users had higher density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Density / drug effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Estrogens / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / adverse effects*
  • Mammography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Norpregnenes / adverse effects
  • Postmenopause / drug effects*
  • Spain


  • Estrogens
  • Isoflavones
  • Norpregnenes
  • tibolone