Hormone Therapy Trial Stopped Due to Increased Cancers and Heart Disease

Cancer and coronary risks of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women were found to outweigh the benefits of treatment.

  • The Womens Health Initiative trial of estrogen plus progestin was halted as researchers realized the risks of hormone therapy exceeded its benefits. Healthy postmenopausal women ages 50-79 received either hormone therapy or a placebo. The trial stopped after 5.6 years of follow-up because the researchers found an increased risk of invasive breast cancer in participants that were taking the estrogen+progestin pills. In addition, women who received hormone therapy had a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and venous thromboembolism compared to participants taking placebo pills.   In the same study, however, the estrogen+progestin therapy was shown to lower the risks for hip fracture and colorectal cancer.1


1 Health Risks and Benefits 3 Years After Stopping Randomized Treatment With Estrogen and Progestin, JAMA Vol. 299 No. 9 March 5, 2008; pp. 1036-1045


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