Yale University LogoAccording to Yale scientists, the correct combination of estrogen and a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) could possibly reduce menopause symptoms and cut breast cancer risk. SERM is known to block the effects of estrogen inside the breast tissue.

It was observed that women in menopause who suffer from the symptoms, but have not had a hysterectomy are at present being treated with a combination of estrogen along with progestin hormone therapy. However, this treatment appears to come with side effects, including an increased risk of breast cancer caused by the progestin.

Scientists were believed to have treated breast and endometrial cell lines with either estrogen or estrogen in addition to one of the SERMs. This they did in order to discover a better method of managing hormone therapy without the breast cancer risk. They further examined at different markers of cell growth, including proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), one of the best-characterized markers of cell growth.

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale stated that, “In our study, the right combination of estrogen and various SERMs was able to prevent the proliferation of breast and endometrial cells. These preliminary findings could lead to a better way of administering hormone therapy to women in menopause.”

Taylor claimed that breast and uterine cells fail to be stimulated by the estrogen plus SERM combination. As a result, women in menopause could perhaps obtain the benefits of estrogen without the risk of progestin.

Supposedly, progestin is a double-edged sword. Moreover, it may pose a breast cancer risk, but if one makes use of estrogen alone without progestin. This in turn could increase the possibility of uterine cancer. SERMs are known to be a good substitute for progestin.

The study findings revealed that PCNA seems to have increased when they stimulated cells with estrogen. Whereas, it decreased when they added a SERM thereby indicating that the SERM appears to have blocked cell growth. It was believed that these laboratory findings are presently being tested in major clinical trials.

The findings of the study have been presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) scientific meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.