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Effects of Depo Provera on Breast Tissue Study

Karine Chung, MD, with co-investigators Malcolm Pike, PhD, Debra Hawes, MD, Linda Hovanessian-Larsen, MD, Darcy Spicer, MD, Anna Wu, PhD, Leigh Pearce, PhD, DeShawn Taylor, MD, and Briana Rudick, MD, at the University of Southern California
Study abstract

Births, especially a first birth before the age of 30, provide lasting protection against breast cancer. An appealing chemopreventive strategy is mimicking this protective effect in young women. Progesterone is present at high levels during pregnancy and there is some evidence from epidemiological studies that treatment with this hormone at pregnancy levels may be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. We are proposing to reach out to women currently being treated with this hormone, perform a breast biopsy, and determine if this treatment induces the same gene expression changes brought about by a pregnancy.

Study review

This study at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, is investigating the effects of Depo Provera, which contains a high dose of a synthetic progestin, on breast tissue. The researchers wanted to enroll 36 volunteers from the Los Angeles area and the Army of Women (AOW) served as one of their multiple recruitment resources. The Call to Action for this study was sent to AOW members on Sept. 15, 2010, and the researchers closed enrollment on July 29, 2014. The AOW provided them with 14 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.