Colorectal cancer incidence and postmenopausal hormone use by type, recency, and duration in cancer prevention study II

Janet S. Hildebrand, Eric J. Jacobs, Peter T. Campbell, Marjorie L. McCullough, Lauren R. Teras, Michael J. Thun, Susan M. Gapstur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Women's Health Initiative randomized trials showed a reduction in colorectal cancer risk with the use of estrogen plus progesterone (E + P), but not with estrogen alone (E-only), after intervention periods <7 years. Using data from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, we examined associations of colorectal cancer risk with E-only and E + P, including analyses by recency and duration of hormone use. During 13.2 years of follow-up, 776 cases of invasive colorectal cancer occurred among 67,412 postmenopausal women participants. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate multivariate-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of colorectal cancer for current and former hormone users according to hormone type and duration of use. Relative to women who never used postmenopausal hormones, current, but not former, use of E-only was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer (RR 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59-0.97). Among current E-only users, duration of use was inversely and linearly associated with risk (P trend = 0.01). Use of E-only for <5 years was not associated with reduced risk, whereas use for ≥20 years was associated with a 45% reduction in risk (RR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.36-0.86). There were no statistically significant associations between E + P and colorectal cancer risk. Our results suggest a strong inverse association of long-term use of E-only with colorectal cancer risk, underscoring the importance of collecting data on duration of hormone use in epidemiologic studies of postmenopausal hormones and risk of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2835-2841
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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