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Home Industry News AstraZeneca’s tamoxifen “substantially” reduces breast cancer risks

AstraZeneca’s tamoxifen “substantially” reduces breast cancer risks

16th November 2005

AstraZeneca’s tamoxifen treatment can substantially reduce the chance of developing breast cancer among high risk women, a new study has shown. Researchers at the US National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project network found that women who took tamoxifen for up to five years were about 43 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who took a placebo.

Researchers at the Pittsburgh based network found that only 145 of 6,681 women judged to be at a high risk of breast cancer and who received tamoxifen have developed the disease since the study began in 1992. The equivalent figure for the 6,707 women in the control group was 250.

Researchers studied women of at least 60 years old or between 35 and 59 who had a mother or sister with confirmed breast cancer or who were having breast lumps tested. “This final analysis confirms that tamoxifen reduces the risk of invasive breast cancer in both pre- and post-menopausal women at increased risk for the disease,” the researchers said in a statement, Reuters reports.

Some participants took tamoxifen for up to five years before researchers told them what they were taking in 1998 and allowed them to move to another drug. Researchers, who continued to follow patient’s progress, found that the treatment could reduce breast cancer by up to 49 per cent at that time.

Tamoxifen also appeared to reduce the incidence of broken bones with eighty women reporting fractures compared to 116 in the control group. The earlier results seemed to indicate an increase in the risk of cancer in the uterine lining as well as blood clots in the lungs and major veins, although the final results showed no statistically significant change said the researchers.

The incidence of other major side effects such as strokes and cataracts remained the same so long as the drug was not taken for over five years. The group is also examining the treatments ability to prevent breast cancer compared to the Eli Lilly drug Evista, and are studying AstraZenaca’s new breast cancer treatment Arimidex. All three drugs work by blocking the female hormone estrogen.

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