Wyeth disputes cancer-HRT link

In a rapid response to the release published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Randall C Willis
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa.—In a rapid response to the release published in the New England Journal of Medicine linking decreases in the incidence of breast cancer to decreased use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) over the same timeframe, HRT provider Wyeth Pharmaceuticals cautions against a proposed cause-and-effect relationship. The published study was based on data from the NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.
 
According to Wyeth, while there was a concomitant decrease in breast cancer and HRT use from 2002 to 2003, data from 2004 shows the incidence of breast cancer to be leveling even though HRT use continued to decrease. Furthermore, the SEER data indicates that several cancer types saw decreases over this period, including estrogen-unresponsive breast cancer, which suggests other mechanisms may be at play.
 
"Reports such as this cause confusion," says Dr. Joseph Camardo, Wyeth's SVP of Global Medical Affairs. "The hypothesis put forth in this report does not change what we know about hormone therapy, which is based on data from numerous, more rigorous studies including the Women's Health Initiative. These randomized trials provide a higher level of evidence on the risk/benefit profile of hormone therapy."

Randall C Willis

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