Hormone-replacement therapy and its association with breast cancer subtypes: A large retrospective cohort study

Vered Rosenberg, Avital Bareket-Samish, Gabriel Chodick, Nava Siegelmann-Danieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The study examined trends in breast cancer incidence, mammography testing rates, hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) use and breast cancer subtypes in a large Israeli health maintenance organization during 2000–2014. Methods: Annual rates of mammography tests and HRTs use were analyzed in women age ≥45. Annual incidence rates of breast cancer were analyzed in women age ≥20. Estimated annual percentage changes were used to test changes in incidence rates. Invasive breast cancer subtypes were approximated by treatments received. We compared annual rates and duration of HRTs use between women diagnosed with breast cancer and those who were not, as well as HRT use between subtypes of invasive breast cancer. Results: We identified 14,092 breast cancer cases (88% invasive, 12% in situ). The age-adjusted incidence rate of invasive breast cancer peaked in 2005, consistent with increased mammography screening that year, and decreased thereafter. HRT use decreased from 13.2% in 2002 to 4.6% in 2014. The subtypes distribution of 7771 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during 2007–2014 was: luminal A and B without HER2 over-expression (HR +/HER2-), 69.7%; Luminal B with HER2 over-expression (HR+/HER2+), 8.9%; Hormone receptor-negative HER2 enriched (HR-/HER2+), 5.4%; triple negative (HR-/HER2-), 10.0%; unknown, 6.0%. Overall, in women age ≥45 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 76–86% did not have HRT exposure vs 14–24% who were current (within 1 year before the breast cancer diagnosis), recent (within 2–5 years), or past users (>5 years). Current/recent HRT use was statistically significantly higher in luminal vs non-luminal/unknown breast cancer sub-types (13.9% vs 8.9%, respectively; p < 0.001). Conclusion: Our results show a decrease in breast cancer incidence that parallels the global and local decrease in HRT use. Yet, our results imply that current/recent HRT exposure may contribute to the incidence of luminal breast cancer tumors in particular. The magnitude of the effect supports findings from population-based studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1216
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
StatePublished - 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Hormone-replacement therapy
  • Incidence
  • Mammography


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