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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014

News

Associated Press: Study shows 2 good choices to prevent breast cancer

Monday, April 19th, 2010

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE

 

Older women at higher risk for breast cancer now have two good drug options for preventing the disease, but they will have to weigh the trade-offs, a major study shows.

Tamoxifen, the longtime gold standard, is more effective and longer lasting, the results show. But a newer drug - raloxifene, sold as Evista - is safer.

"I don't see a clear winner," but two good choices with different risks and benefits, said Dr. Scott Lippman, a cancer specialist at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

He is editor of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal that published long-term results from the federally funded study on Monday. They also were being presented at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Washington.

Tamoxifen is widely used to treat cancer once it's diagnosed, and Evista is used to treat osteoporosis. But the drugs have not found wide acceptance so far as cancer preventives. Doctors hope the findings will spur more high-risk women to consider taking one of the drugs.

They're not recommended for women at average risk of breast cancer. But for the millions who are at higher risk because of gene mutations, family history or other factors, they can make a dramatic difference.

Tamoxifen cut the chances of developing the most serious forms of breast cancer in half, the research shows, but with a higher risk of uterine cancer. Evista cut the cancer risk by 38 percent, with fewer uterine problems and other serious side effects.

"We've now documented that it's far less toxic" than tamoxifen, said study leader Dr. D. Lawrence Wickerham. He is a cancer specialist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh who has consulted for makers of both drugs.
 

To read more, visit the Associated Press.
 

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