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Following the dramatic fall in postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) after the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) publications in 2002/2003, a large number of papers have reported a 7% decline in breast cancer incidence in the USA and other countries. In a recent study [1], breast cancer incidence rates among non-Hispanic (NH) white women from 2003 to 2007 were evaluated. Data were obtained from the 12 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries (representing only 14% of the US population) for 2000–2007 by age and estrogen receptor (ER) status (ER+ or ER-). Prevalence of HT use was calculated using National Health Interview Survey data from 2000, 2005 and 2008. When a linear trend was fitted to the data from 2003 to 2007, there was no significant change ([i]p[/i] = 0.46) in the incidence rate for ER+ breast cancers among NH white women. NH Black and Hispanic women did not experience the steep drop in incidence from 2002 to 2003 and there were no significant changes in incidence rates from 2003 to 2007. However, the incidence rate in NH white women aged 60–69 years increased by 4.8% from 2003 to 2007. ER- breast cancer incidence decreased in NH white women and black women except in the group aged 60–69 years. Use of HT has fallen from 22% in 2000 for NH white women aged 50–59 years to 4.8% in 2008 and from 12.9% in 2000 for NH white women aged 60–69 years to 3% in 2008. But, if HT use was lower in black women (7% to 1.2% in the age group 50–59 years), in NH white women the use of HT also fell from 18% to 1.4% in women aged 50–59 years.


  • Anne Gompel
    Unité de Gynécologie-Endocrinienne, APHP, Hôtel-Dieu Hospital and University Paris Descartes, France


  1. DeSantis C, Howlader N, Cronin KA, et al. Breast cancer incidence rates in US women are no longer declining. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2011;20:733-9.
  2. Gompel A, Plu-Bureau G. Is the decrease in breast cancer incidence related to decrease in postmenopausal hormone therapy? Ann NY Acad Sci 2010;1205:268-76.
  3. De P, Neutel CI, Olivotto I, Morrison H. Breast cancer incidence and hormone replacement therapy in Canada. J Natl Cancer Inst 2010;102:1489-95.
  4. Farhat GN, Walker R, Buist DSM, Onega T, Kerlikowske K. Changes in invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ rates in relation to the decline in hormone therapy use. J Clin Oncol 2010;28:5140-6.
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