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Potential Mechanisms of Age Acceleration Caused by Estrogen Deprivation: Do Endocrine Therapies Carry the Same Risks?


Potential Mechanisms of Age Acceleration Caused by Estrogen Deprivation: Do Endocrine Therapies Carry the Same Risks?

Mary E Sehl et al. JNCI Cancer Spectr.


Longer duration of endocrine therapy decreases breast cancer recurrence and mortality, but these benefits need to be weighed against potential risks to overall health. Notable side effects of endocrine therapy include cataracts, uterine cancer, thromboembolic events, osteoporosis and fracture risk, chronic musculoskeletal complaints, as well as vaginal dryness and discharge, and vasomotor symptoms. Estrogen deprivation in healthy women younger than 50 years undergoing bilateral oophorectomy has been shown to accelerate the development of diseases related to aging, including coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, stroke, dementia, and osteoporosis, raising concern that even less dramatic modulation of estrogen homeostasis may adversely affect health outcomes. Diminished available estrogen at the cellular and molecular level may facilitate mechanisms that underlie the aging process, often termed the hallmarks of aging. In this review, we describe estrogen's role in normal physiology across tissues, review the effects of estrogen deprivation on health outcomes in the setting of both surgical and natural menopause, and examine the hallmarks of aging with attention to the effects of estrogen and estrogen blockade on each molecular mechanism underlying the aging process.

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