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Estetrol Combined to Progestogen for Menopause or Contraception Indication Is Neutral on Breast Cancer

Anne Gallez  1 , Silvia Blacher  1 , Erik Maquoi  1 , Erika Konradowski  1 , Marc Joiret  2 , Irina Primac  1 , et al.

Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 20;13(10):2486.doi: 10.3390/cancers13102486.

Given the unequivocal benefits of menopause hormone therapies (MHT) and combined oral contraceptives (COC), there is a clinical need for new formulations devoid of any risk of breast cancer promotion. Accumulating data from preclinical and clinical studies support that estetrol (E4) is a promising natural estrogen for MHT and COC. Nevertheless, we report here that E4 remains active on the endometrium, even under a dose that is neutral on breast cancer growth and lung metastasis dissemination. This implies that a progestogen should be combined with E4 to protect the endometrium of non-hysterectomized women from hyperplasia and cancer. Through in vivo observations and transcriptomic analyses, our work provides evidence that combining a progestogen to E4 is neutral on breast cancer growth and dissemination, with very limited transcriptional impact. The assessment of breast cancer risk in patients during the development of new MHT or COC is not possible given the requirement of long-term studies in large populations. This translational preclinical research provides new evidence that a therapeutic dose of E4 for MHT or COC, combined with progesterone or drospirenone, may provide a better benefit/risk profile towards breast cancer risk compared to hormonal treatments currently available for patients.