Ultrasonographic observation of the breast in early postmenopausal women during therapy with Cimicifuga foetida extract and sequential therapy with estrogen and progestin.

Abstract

BACKGROUND It is now recognized that Cimicifuga foetida (C. foetida) extract is effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms. But the durations reported were usually short. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of C. foetida extract therapy and different estrogen and progesterone sequential therapies, on the breasts of early postmenopausal women. METHODS This was a prospective randomized trial. Ninety-six early menopausal women were recruited and randomly assigned into three groups treated with different therapies for 2 years. Patients were given C. foetida extract in Group A, estradiol valerate and medroxyprogesterone acetate in Group B, and estradiol valerate and progesterone in Group C. Ultrasonography was used to monitor changes in breast during treatment. RESULTS In comparing breast glandular section thickness before and after 1 and 2 years of treatment, no significant difference was observed in Group A (11.97 ± 2.84 mm vs. 12.09 ± 2.58 mm and 12.61 ± 3.73 mm, P > 0.05); in Group B glandular section thickness had increased significantly (10.98 ± 2.34 mm vs. 11.84 ± 2.72 mm and 11.90 ± 3.33 mm, P < 0.05) after treatment, the same as Group C (11.56 ± 3.03 mm vs. 12.5 ± 3.57 mm and 12.22 ± 4.39 mm P < 0.05). In comparing breast duct width before and after 1 and 2 years of treatment, no significant difference was seen in Group A (1.07 ± 0.19 mm vs. 1.02 ± 0.18 mm and 0.98 ± 0.21 mm, P > 0.05); in Group B the duct width had a downward trend after treatment (0.99 ± 0.14 mm vs. 0.96 ± 0.22 mm and 0.90 ± 0.18 mm, P < 0.05), the same as Group C (1.07 ± 0.20 mm vs. 1.02 ± 0.17 mm and 0.91 ± 0.19 mm, P < 0.05). The nodules detected before treatment had disappeared after 1-year of treatment or exhibited no distinct changes in the three groups. However, new breast nodules had appeared after 2 years of treatment: There was one case in Group A, two cases in Group B and four cases in Group C, with breast hyperplasia after the molybdenum target check. CONCLUSIONS In early postmenopausal patients, C. foetida extract therapy and estrogen and progesterone therapy at low doses did not increase the incidence of malignant breast tumors.

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