January 16, 2012
Antiestrogens May Counter Increased Skin Cancer Risk
This article originally appeared here.
Caroline Huber, of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and colleagues used data from the Geneva Cancer Registry to compare the melanoma incidence rate among breast cancer patients treated with or without antiestrogen therapy with the expected melanoma incidence rate in the general population. Among 7,360 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1980 and 2005, 54% received antiestrogen treatment. The women were followed until December 2008 (median follow-up of seven years).
The researchers found that 34 women in the breast cancer cohort developed a melanoma during the follow-up period. Compared with the general population, the risk of melanoma was significantly higher for breast cancer patients who did not receive antiestrogen therapy (standardized incidence ratio [SIR], 1.60; P=0.02). For breast cancer patients who received antiestrogen therapy, there was no increased risk of developing a melanoma (SIR, 0.98; P=0.57).
"This study suggests that antiestrogen therapy modifies the risk of melanoma after breast cancer. Although our results are in agreement with the hypothesis that estrogens could play a role in melanoma occurrence, they need to be replicated in a larger study with data on potential confounders," the authors write.