A retrospective case-control study of the use of hormone-related supplements and association with breast cancer

Timothy R. Rebbeck, Andrea B. Troxel, Sandra Norman, Greta R. Bunin, Angela DeMichele, Mona Baumgarten, Michelle Berlin, Rita Schinnar, Brian L. Strom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Hormone-related supplements (HRS), many of which contain phytoestrogens, are widely used to manage menopausal symptoms, yet their relationship with breast cancer risk has generally not been evaluated. We evaluated whether use of HRS was associated with breast cancer risk, using a population-based case-control study in 3 counties of the Philadelphia metropolitan area consisting of 949 breast cancer cases and 1,524 controls. Use of HRS varied significantly by race, with African American women being more likely than European American women to use any herbal preparation (19.2% vs. 14.7%, p = 0.003) as well as specific preparations including black cohosh (5.4% vs. 2.0%, p = 0.003), ginseng (12.5% vs. 7.9%, p < 0.001) and red clover (4.7% vs. 0.6%, p < 0.001). Use of black cohosh had a significant breast cancer protective effect (adjusted odds ratio 0.39, 95% CI: 0.22-0.70). This association was similar among women who reported use of either black cohosh or Remifemin (an herbal preparation derived from black cohosh; adjusted odds ratio 0.47, 95% CI: 0.27-0.82). The literature reports that black cohosh may be effective in treating menopausal symptoms, and has antiestrogenic, antiproliferative and antioxidant properties. Additional confirmatory studies are required to determine whether black cohosh could be used to prevent breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1523-1528
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Breast cancer
  • Complementary alternative medicine
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'A retrospective case-control study of the use of hormone-related supplements and association with breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this