Findings published in the latest issue of Cancer Prevention Research suggest that antiestrogen supplements help decrease the risk of subsequent melanoma in patients with breast cancer.
Recognizing the increased risk of melanoma among women who have had breast cancer, Dr Christine Bouchardy, from the Geneva Cancer Registry at the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues, reviewed data from the Geneva Cancer Registry. They compared melanoma incidence rates for a cohort of breast cancer patients who received antiestrogen therapy with those who did not receive such therapy, as well as with rates found in the general population.
Bouchardy et al. included 7,360 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 1980 and 2005 in the analysis. The women were followed until 2008. Just over half (54%) of the women in the analysis received antiestrogen therapy. Bouchardy and colleagues found that 34 of the women in the study developed cutaneous melanoma.
For the women who received antiestrogen therapy, the risk of developing melanoma was nearly identical to that of the general population (standardized incidence ratio=0.98). However, the women who did not receive the therapy had a standardized incidence ration of 1.60, or a 60% increased risk of developing melanoma.
Based on their research, Bouchardy and colleagues noted that antiestrogen supplementation in breast cancer may reduce the risk of subsequent cutaneous melanoma. “This study suggests that antiestrogen therapy modifies the risk of melanoma after breast cancer,” the authors wrote.
However, the authors cautioned that widespread use of antiestrogen therapy may be premature. “Although our results are in agreement with the hypothesis that estrogens(Drug information on estrogens) could play a role in melanoma occurrence, they need to be replicated in a larger study with data on potential confounders,” they explained.