Medication reduces breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women
Saturday, June 04, 2011
The drug Aromasin appears to cut the odds of breast cancer by 65 percent in high-risk postmenopausal women, new research has found. Unlike other anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen, Aromasin doesn't seem to have an increased risk of uterine cancer or blood clots.
Aromasin, an aromatase inhibitor, is currently approved for early breast cancer patients, but is not FDA approved as a preventative medication. Currently, the medication costs $300-400 per month, but will soon be available in generic form. Hopefully, the price will drop.
The new placebo-controlled study, conducted by Canada's NCIC Clinical Trials Group with partial support from Pfizer, involved 4,560 women from Canada, the U.S., France and Spain with a median age of 62.5 years. The women were all post-menopausal and had at least one other risk factor for breast cancer.
After three years, researchers observed 11 invasive breast cancers in the women receiving Aromasin, compared with 32 in the group receiving the placebo, for a 65% reduction. There were also fewer precancerous lesions in the group receiving the drug.
"This may add another potential drug for these women," said Dr. Jennifer Litton, a breast medical oncologist with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "Hot flashes, joint stiffness were more pronounced but it [Aromasin] doesn't have the blood clot and uterine cancer risk."
Thomas Fiala, MD
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