Menopausal hormone therapy in cancer survivors: A narrative review of the literature

Carol L. Kuhle, Ekta Kapoor, Richa Sood, Jacqueline M. Thielen, Aminah Jatoi, Stephanie S. Faubion

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Decision making regarding the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) for the treatment of bothersome menopausal symptoms in a cancer survivor can be complex, and includes assessment of its impact on disease-free or overall survival. Estrogen receptors are present in several cancer types, but this does not always result in estrogen-mediated tumor proliferation and adverse cancer-related outcomes. Estrogen may even be protective against certain cancers. Menopausal hormone therapy is associated with an increased risk of recurrence and mortality after diagnosis of some cancer types, but not others. We provide a narrative review of the medical literature regarding the risk of cancer recurrence and associated mortality with initiation of MHT after the diagnosis of breast, gynecologic, lung, colorectal, hematologic cancers, and melanoma. Menopausal hormone therapy may be considered for management of bothersome menopausal symptoms in women with some cancer types (e.g., colorectal and hematologic cancer, localized melanoma, and most cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers), while nonhormonal treatment options may be preferred for others (e.g., breast cancer). In women with other cancer types, recommendations are less straightforward, and the use of MHT must be individualized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-96
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Estrogen
  • Hormonal influence
  • Hormone therapy
  • Hot flashes
  • Menopausal hormone therapy
  • Menopause
  • Progestin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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