Natural progesterone and Breast cancer
In Defense of Progesterone: A Review of the Literature.
Context • The medical literature on the use of progesterone in postmenopausal women is often confusing and contradictory. Some physicians implicate natural progesterone in an increase in the risk of breast cancer.
The chemical structure of natural progesterone (P4) is quite different from chemically altered, synthetic chemicals called progestins, which results in different actions at the cell level.
Objective • The research team intended to review the literature to examine the benefits and safety of natural progesterone and determine whether it can cause an increase or decrease in breast cancer risk.
Design • A review of the medical literature to examine the benefits and safety of natural progesterone as compared with synthetic progestins. Intervention • Studies examined compared controls not receiving hormone therapy with women receiving estrogen alone and in combination with natural progesterone and with various synthetic progestins, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate-the most commonly used synthetic progestin.
Outcome Measures • Outcome measures included factors such as progression and survival of breast and other cancers and other epidemiological and laboratory data.
Results • A meta-analysis of 3 studies involving 86 881 postmenopausal women reported that the use of natural progesterone was associated with a significantly lower risk of breast cancer compared with synthetic progestins. Anovulation and low levels of serum progesterone have been associated with a significantly higher risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women. Use of progesterone has been linked to lower rates of uterine and colon cancers and may also be useful in treating other cancers such as ovarian, melanoma, mesothelioma, and prostate. Progesterone may also be helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease and preventing and treating neurodegenerative conditions such a stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Conclusions • Physicians should have no hesitation prescribing natural progesterone. The evidence is clear that progesterone does not cause breast cancer. Indeed, progesterone is protective and preventative of breast cancer