Anti-estrogen therapy cuts melanoma risk

Jan. 5, 2012 at 12:09 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Women with breast cancer who take anti-estrogen supplements may be decreasing their risk for melanoma as well, Swiss researchers suggest.

Dr. Christine Bouchardy, a professor at the University of Geneva and head of the Geneva Cancer Registry, and colleagues analyzed data from 7,360 women who had breast cancer from 1980 to 2005. Fifty-four percent of the women received anti-estrogen therapy.

The researchers tracked the patients until 2008 and recorded 34 melanoma cases during the follow-up period.

The study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, found the risk for melanoma was 60 percent higher among patients who did not receive anti-estrogen therapy, compared with patients who received anti-estrogen therapy.

"The data reinforce the hypothesis that estrogens play a role in melanoma occurrence," Bouchardy said in a statement.

Bouchardy cautioned against widespread anti-estrogen supplementation to prevent melanoma in the general population.

"These results need to be replicated in other studies, particularly given the numerous side effects linked to this kind of drug," Bouchardy said.

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