Tamoxifen Shown to Prevent Breast Cancer

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) Mar 20 – Tamoxifen, a drug used successfully for years to treat breast cancer, can also prevent the disease in healthy women who have a high risk of developing it, cancer experts said on Wednesday.
The drug reduces the incidence of breast cancer by a third, according to preliminary results of the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study (IBIS) presented at the 3rd European Breast Cancer Conference.

"Breast cancer is a preventable disease. That is a very important point," Professor Jack Cuzick, the lead investigator of the trial, told a news conference.

Professor Gordon McVie, of the charity Cancer Research UK which funded the IBIS trial of 7,000 women, described the findings as encouraging. "The results so far show that incidence was reduced by one-third, compared to women taking a placebo," he said in a statement.

But the study also showed that the drug, produced by AstraZeneca under the name Nolvadex, can increase the risk of blood clots, before and immediately after surgery. Cuzick said the benefits of tamoxifen for treating breast cancer were indisputable, but there was still no conclusive evidence that the benefits outweighed the risks for preventing the cancer in healthy, high-risk women who have a family history of breast cancer.

"I stress that these results are preliminary and it is essential to continue to follow the participants to see if a particular high-risk group of healthy women can be identified for whom the benefits of tamoxifen clearly outweigh any risks," Cuzick added.

Cuzick stressed that the drug only reduced breast cancers that were sensitive to the female hormone oestrogen and the benefits were the same for women of all age groups, regardless of whether they were taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Tamoxifen works by neutralising the action of oestrogen, which stimulates breast cancer growth. Studies have shown that it is effective in treating early and advanced breast cancer, particularly in women over 50 who are most likely to develop the disease. But the drug can also increase the risk of a cancer of the uterus.

Tamoxifen's role in preventing cancer has been controversial. Several years ago researchers reported it reduced breast cancer cases by 45% in a US trial which was cut short to allow women on the placebo to take tamoxifen instead. At the time, British researchers criticised the US decision, saying longterm studies were needed to confirm the drug's effectiveness as a cancer preventive.

לכתבה המלאה

0 תגובות

השאירו תגובה

רוצה להצטרף לדיון?
תרגישו חופשי לתרום!

כתיבת תגובה

מידע נוסף לעיונך

כתבות בנושאים דומים