PHI Researcher challenges studies linking HRT to Breast Cancer
Posted 24 January 2012
Prince Henry’s Institute Emeritus Director, Professor Henry Burger has joined a group of international researchers in challenging the findings of five controversial studies linking combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer. The group, led by Professor Samuel Shapiro from South Africa’s Cape Town Medical School, has responded to the HRT and Breast Cancer studies in a series of four papers published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.
The group has questioned the strength and validity of findings published from the Women’s Health Initiative (2002), as well as the Million Women Study (2003) and Collaborative reanalysis of epidemiological studies released in 1997. The group has raised a number of concerns regarding bias in information collection, as well as the studies’ failure to consider possible compounding factors and failure support their findings with an underlying plausible biological mechanism.
Professor Burger, who co-wrote the group’s fourth paper questioning findings from the Million Women Study, says while there may be some increase in risk, the current body of evidence does not rigorously prove a link between HRT and breast cancer.
“There is a body of evidence which suggests but does not prove that HRT of some types is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk in women, depending on baseline risk, and type and duration of therapy among other factors” he said.