New Drug Prevents Breast Cancer In Postmenopausal Women, UCSF Researchers Report

en and estrogen, Cummings noted that raloxifene does increase a woman's risk of developing blood clots.

He added that raloxifene also reduced the risk of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer in participating women by 87 percent; and did not affect the risk of estrogen-receptor negative cancer.

Approximately two-thirds of breast cancers in postmenopausal women are estrogen-receptor positive. These cancer tumors' cells contain a protein, or receptor, that responds to estrogen, stimulating tissue growth in a woman's breasts, which can increase her risk of breast cancer.

During the UCSF-led study, 7,705 postmenopausal women up to age 80 years (mean age 66.5 years) who have osteoporosis and no history of breast or endometrial cancer were randomly assigned to receive either 60 or 120 milligrams per day of raloxifene or a matching dose of placebo. Twice as many women were given raloxifene as those in the control group who received placebo. Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, accounting for one out of every three cancer diagnoses in the United States. Approximately one in nine women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, and it is estimated that the disease will strike 178,000 women in the US this year, and kill 43,500.

Because breast cancer can take five or more years to become detectable, Cummings said that the study will continue for at least another four years to determine the long-term benefits of raloxifene in women. He added that the women who are participating in the clinical trials are making enormous contributions to the fight against breast cancer.

"If we continue to see positive results from the study, as we expect, women who are concerned about breast cancer should consult their doctors about whether raloxifene is a treatment they should consider," Cummings says.

Raloxifene is unique to other SERMS, such as tamoxifen, because it has a positive, estrogen-like effect on a wo

Contact: Abby Sinnott
(415) 885-7277
University of California - San Francisco

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