Biopsy confirmed benign breast disease, postmenopausal use of exogenous female hormones, and breast carcinoma risk

Celia Byrne*, James L. Connolly, Graham A. Colditz, Stuart J. Schnitt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. A history of proliferative benign breast disease has been shown to increase the risk of developing breast carcinoma, but, to the authors' knowledge, how postmenopausal exogenous female hormone use, in general, has affected breast carcinoma risk among women with a history of proliferative breast disease with or without atypia has not been well established. METHODS. In the current case-control study, nested within the Nurses' Health Study, benign breast biopsy slides of 133 postmenopausal breast carcinoma cases and 610 controls with a history of benign breast disease, were reviewed. Reviewers had no knowledge of case status. RESULTS. Women with proliferative disease without atypia had a relative risk for postmenopausal breast carcinoma of 1.8 (95%, confidence interval [CI]: 1.1 to 2.8), and women with atypical hyperplasia had a relative risk of 3.6 (95%, CI: 2.0 to 6.4) compared with women who had nonproliferative benign histology. Neither current postmenopausal use of exogenous female hormones nor long term use for 5 or more years further increased the risk of breast carcinoma in the study population beyond that already associated with their benign histology. CONCLUSIONS. Women who had proliferative benign breast disease, with or without atypia, were at moderately to substantially increased risk of developing postmenopausal breast carcinoma compared with women who had nonproliferative benign conditions. In the current study, postmenopausal exogenous female hormone use in general did not further increase the breast carcinoma risk for women with proliferative benign breast disease. However, the analysis did not exclude the possibility of increased risk with a particular hormone combination or dosage. (C) 2000 American Cancer Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2046-2052
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Benign breast disease
  • Breast carcinoma risk
  • Epidemiology
  • Postmenopausal exogenous female hormones


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