April 18, 2024
Hormone Drugs

Prolonged Use of Specific Hormone Drugs Linked to Higher Brain Tumor Risk, Study Finds

A recent study from France published by the BMJ today has revealed that prolonged use of certain progestogen hormone drugs may lead to an increased risk of developing intracranial meningioma, a type of brain tumor. This study, which is the first of its kind to evaluate the risk associated with progestogens commonly used by millions of women worldwide, emphasizes the need for further research to comprehensively understand this risk.

Progestogens, which bear resemblance to the natural hormone progesterone, are frequently prescribed for gynecological conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as for menopausal hormone therapy and contraceptives.

Meningiomas are typically benign tumors located in the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. Known risk factors for meningioma include advancing age, female gender, and exposure to high-dose progestogens such as nomegestrol, chlormadinone, and cyproterone acetate.

However, the study highlights that the individual risk of meningioma associated with the use of many other progestogens has not been adequately estimated. In order to bridge this knowledge gap, researchers analyzed data from the French national health data system on 18,061 women who underwent intracranial meningioma surgery between 2009 and 2018, comparing them to 90,305 control women without the tumor.

The study investigated the impact of various progestogens on the risk of intracranial meningioma, considering factors such as route of administration and duration of use. The analysis revealed that prolonged use (one year or more) of certain progestogens like medrogestone, medroxyprogesterone acetate, and promegestone was associated with a significantly elevated risk of requiring surgery for intracranial meningioma.

Conversely, there was no observed risk for shorter durations of use of these progestogens. The study also confirmed the heightened risk associated with high-dose progestogens like chlormadinone acetate, nomegestrol acetate, and cyproterone acetate, while no excess risk was found for others like progesterone, dydrogesterone, or levonorgestrel intrauterine systems.

It should be noted that this study’s observational nature limits its ability to establish causation, and certain limitations like a lack of detailed clinical information in the database were acknowledged by the authors. The study underscores the necessity for additional research from diverse data sources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the risk posed by specific progestogens.

Given the widespread use of progestogens like medroxyprogesterone acetate for birth control globally, the potential implications of this research are significant, with a large number of attributable meningiomas possibly arising from such usage. The authors stress the urgency of further studies to delve deeper into this risk and emphasize the importance of exploring additional factors like genetic predisposition and radiation exposure.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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