Mammary gland and endometrial effects of testosterone in combination with oral estradiol and progesterone

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The goal of this pilot study was to evaluate the effects of testosterone (T) cotherapy on mammary gland and endometrial measures in a postmenopausal primate model.


Twenty-five surgically postmenopausal cynomolgus monkeys were randomized by social group to receive daily treatment with (1) placebo, (2) oral micronized 17β-estradiol (1 mg/d equivalent in women) + progesterone (200 mg/d equivalent in women) (E + P), or (3) E + P with T administered via subcutaneous pellets for 8 weeks at a high dose (15 mg) followed by 8 weeks at a low dose (1.5 mg) (E + P + T). The main outcome measures were breast and endometrial epithelial proliferation, as measured by Ki67/MIB1 immunolabeling.


Intralobular breast proliferation did not differ significantly among groups after 8 weeks of treatment but was marginally higher (P = 0.03) in the E + P + T group after 16 weeks of treatment. No significant increase in proliferation was seen for E + P alone. Comparable changes in mammary gland markers of estrogen-receptor activity were seen for the E + P and E + P + T groups. In the endometrium, the addition of T did not increase endometrial glandular proliferation or estrogen-receptor activity or result in any distinct histologic changes.


The findings of this study do not support the idea that T antagonizes the effects of combined hormone therapy on breast proliferation or markers of estrogen-receptor activity. Overall, the short-term effects of T cotherapy on the mammary gland and endometrium were minimal.

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