Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:21 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Extended Use of Breast Cancer Drug Suggested
The widely prescribed drug tamoxifen already plays a major role in reducing the risk of death from breast cancer. But a new study suggests that women should be taking the drug for twice as long as is now customary, a finding that could upend the standard that has been in place for about 15 years.
In the study, patients who continued taking tamoxifen for 10 years were less likely to have the cancer come back or to die from the disease than women who took the drug for only five years, the current standard of care.
“Certainly, the advice to stop in five years should not stand,” said Prof. Richard Peto, a medical statistician at Oxford University and senior author of the study, which was published in The Lancet on Wednesday and presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Breast cancer specialists not involved in the study said the results could have the biggest impact on premenopausal women, who account for a fifth to a quarter of new breast cancer cases. Postmenopausal women tend to take different drugs, but some experts said the results suggest that those drugs as well might be taken for a longer duration.
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Extended Use of Breast Cancer Drug Suggested (Original post)
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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:30 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
1. LONGER TAMOXIFEN USE CUTS BREAST CANCER DEATHS
Breast cancer patients taking the drug tamoxifen can cut their chances of having the disease come back or kill them if they stay on the pills for 10 years instead of five years as doctors recommend now, a major study finds.
The results could change treatment, especially for younger women. The findings are a surprise because earlier research suggested that taking the hormone-blocking drug for longer than five years didn't help and might even be harmful.
In the new study, researchers found that women who took tamoxifen for 10 years lowered their risk of a recurrence by 25 percent and of dying of breast cancer by 29 percent compared to those who took the pills for just five years.
In absolute terms, continuing on tamoxifen kept three additional women out of every 100 from dying of breast cancer within five to 14 years from when their disease was diagnosed. When added to the benefit from the first five years of use, a decade of tamoxifen can cut breast cancer mortality in half during the second decade after diagnosis, researchers estimate.