Hormone replacement therapy after oophorectomy and breast cancer risk among BRCA1 mutation carriers

Hereditary Breast Cancer Clinical Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE Prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is recommended for BRCA1 mutation carriers to prevent ovarian cancer. Whether or not hormone replacement therapy (HRT) initiated after oophorectomy is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer has not been evaluated in a prospective study. OBJECTIVE To determine the association between HRT use and BRCA1-associated breast cancer. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A prospective, longitudinal cohort study of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers from 80 participating centers in 17 countries was conducted between 1995 and 2017 with a mean follow-up of 7.6 years. Participants had sought genetic testing for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation because of a personal or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Carriers of BRCA1 mutation with no personal medical history of cancer who underwent bilateral oophorectomy following enrollment were eligible for the cohort study. EXPOSURES A follow-up questionnaire was administered every 2 years to obtain detailed information on HRT use. A left-truncated Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs associated with the initiation of HRT use postoophorectomy. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Incident breast cancer. RESULTS A total of 872 BRCA1 mutation carriers with a mean postoophorectomy follow-up period of 7.6 years (range, 0.4-22.1) were included in this study. Mean (SD) age of participants was 43.4 (8.5) years. Among these, 92 (10.6%) incident breast cancers were diagnosed. Overall, HRT use after oophorectomy was not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The HR was 0.97 (95% CI, 0.62-1.52; P = .89) for ever use of any type of HRT vs no use; however, the effects of estrogen alone and combination hormonal therapy were different. After 10 years of follow-up, the cumulative incidence of breast cancer among women who used estrogen-alone HRT was 12% compared with 22% among women who used estrogen plus progesterone HRT (absolute difference, 10%; log rank P = .04). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE These findings suggest that use of estrogen after oophorectomy does not increase the risk of breast cancer among women with a BRCA1 mutation and should reassure BRCA1 mutation carriers considering preventive surgery that HRT is safe. The possible adverse effect of progesterone-containing HRT warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Hormone replacement therapy after oophorectomy and breast cancer risk among BRCA1 mutation carriers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this