Long-Term Tamoxifen Lowers Breast CA Recurrence Risk

April 6, 2011
OBGYN.net Staff
OBGYN.net Staff

Women with breast cancer who take tamoxifen for five years appear to have a lower risk of recurrence or contralateral breast cancer 15 years after starting treatment as compared to women who take the drug for two years, and they may also have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death from a cardiovascular event, according to a study published online March 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women with breast cancer who take tamoxifen for five years appear to have a lower risk of recurrence or contralateral breast cancer 15 years after starting treatment as compared to women who take the drug for two years, and they may also have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death from a cardiovascular event, according to a study published online March 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Between 1987 and 1997, Allan Hackshaw, of the Cancer Research U.K. and University College London Cancer Trials Centre, and colleagues randomized 3,449 patients, aged 50 to 81 years, with operable breast cancer who had been taking 20 mg of tamoxifen for two years to stop taking the drug or keep taking it for three more years, if they were alive and recurrence free.

The investigators found that, for every 100 women who received tamoxifen for five years, 5.8 fewer experienced recurrence 15 years after starting treatment as compared to those who received tamoxifen for two years. In addition, there was a significant reduction in the risk of contralateral breast cancer (hazard ratio, 0.70). Among women aged 50 to 59 years, the investigators also found a 35 percent reduction in cardiovascular events and a 59 percent reduction in death as a result of a cardiovascular event. This effect was seen in older women, but it was smaller and not statistically significant.

"Long-term follow-up data from studies such as the trial described by Hackshaw et al add to pre-existing data that [suggest] that long-term therapy with tamoxifen may be beneficial in reducing cardiac events and deaths as well as breast cancer recurrence and death," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

AbstractFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)Editorial

Related Content

Tamoxifen Offers Cost-Effective Breast Cancer ProphylaxisLocal Immune Response Predictive of Cancer PrognosisSeven-Day On-Off Capecitabine Cycle Treats Breast Cancer