Researchers identify genetic anomaly that may drive rare subset of prostate cancers

February 26, 2016

Most women were age 60 or older when the study began so the results reflect the effects of estrogen in the elderly women. In normal medical settings, women begin taking hormones for relief of symptoms such as hot flashes that occur at the time of menopause, which for most women is in their early 50s. The safety profile for the younger women appeared better than for older women in the study, LaCroix and her colleagues reported, ???The younger women were less likely to have heart attacks or die from other diseases. Based on these findings, the scientists calculated that if 10,000 women ages 50 to 59 took estrogen for 10 years and seven months, there would be 12 fewer acute heart attacks, 13 fewer deaths from any cause and 18 fewer adverse events related to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, compared with women taking placebo pills. In contrast, in 10,000 women ages 70 to 79, there would be 16 more heart attacks, 19 more deaths and 48 more adverse events related to chronic diseases compared with women taking placebos.??? ???Six years of use followed by stopping appears to be very safe for younger women, with the exception of blood clots,??? LaCroix said. ???But for women in their 70s, this does not appear to be a safe medicine.???

In an editorial accompanying the study, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis feel this would not change the attitude towards hormones. Prescriptions have plummeted in the last seven years as hopes were dashed that hormone therapy would generally improve women's health in the later part of life. ???Instead of women taking a pill they thought was going to protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and all these other effects, you now offer a pill that has benefits and risk that equal out,??? said Dr. Graham Colditz, a co-author of the editorial. ???Most people aren't going to run out to take something that may cause them to have a stroke.???