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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Diabetes and Endocrinology - Geriatrics - Oncology - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Women's Health

Hormone Treatment, Estrogen Receptor Polymorphisms and Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012
Author: Joanne Ryan et al.

by Joanne Ryan, Marianne Canonico, Laure Carcaillon, Isabelle Carrière, Jacqueline Scali, Jean-Francois Dartigues, Carole Dufouil, Karen Ritchie, Pierre-Yves Scarabin, Marie-Laure Ancelin

Background

The association between hormone treatment (HT) and mortality remains controversial. This study aimed to determine whether the risk of mortality associated with HT use varies depending on the specific characteristics of treatment and genetic variability in terms of the estrogen receptor.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A prospective, population-based study of 5135 women aged 65 years and older who were recruited from three cities in France and followed over six years. Detailed information related to HT use was obtained and five estrogen receptor polymorphisms were genotyped. The total follow-up was 25,436 person-years and during this time 352 women died. Cancer (36.4%) and cardiovascular disease (19.3%) were the major causes of death. Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, education, centre, living situation, comorbidity, depression, physical and mental incapacities, indicated no significant association between HT and mortality, regardless of the type or duration of treatment, or the age at initiation. However, the association between HT and all-cause or cancer-related mortality varied across women, with significant interactions identified with three estrogen receptor polymorphisms (p-values?=?0.004 to 0.03) in adjusted analyses. Women carrying the C allele of ESR1 rs2234693 had a decreased risk of all-cause mortality with HT (HR: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.18–0.97), while in stark contrast, those homozygous for the T allele had a significantly increased risk of cancer-related mortality (HR: 3.18, 95% CI: 1.23–8.20). The findings were similar for ESR1 rs9340799 and ESR2 rs1271572.

Conclusions/Significance

The risk of mortality was not associated with HT duration, type or age at initiation. It was however not equal across all women, with some women appearing genetically more vulnerable to the effects of HT in terms of their estrogen receptor genotype. These findings, if confirmed in another independent study, may help explain the differential susceptibility of women to the beneficial or adverse effects of HT.

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