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Study evaluates benefits and risks of tamoxifen and raloxifene for reducing risk of breast cancer

Raloxifene and tamoxifen are both effective in reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer, but each has potential disease and quality of life side effects that women and their physicians will need to consider, according to two reports and an editorial published online June 5 by JAMA. The papers are being published online to coincide with the scientific presentation of this information at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Atlanta. The papers will be published in the June 21 issue of JAMA.

Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that has been used to treat both early and advanced breast cancer for more than three decades, according to background information in the article. Raloxifene is a second-generation SERM currently used as a medication for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. But clinical trials have shown it may have a role in reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Victor G. Vogel, M.D., M.H.S., from Magee-Womens Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues from The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), conducted a randomized clinical trial (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene or STAR trial) at nearly 200 clinical centers throughout North America. Patients were 19,747 postmenopausal women with an average age of 58.5 years with an increased five-year breast cancer risk. The study patients were randomized to receive oral tamoxifen (20 mg/day) or raloxifene (60 mg/day) over five years.

"There were 163 cases of invasive breast cancer in women assigned to tamoxifen and 168 in those assigned to raloxifene (incidence, 4.30 per 1,000 vs. 4.41 per 1,000)," according to the study authors. There were fewer cases of noninvasive breast cancer in the tamoxifen group (57 cases) than in the raloxifene group (80 cases), while there were 36 cases of uterine cancer with tamoxifen and 23 with raloxifene; however, neit
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Contact: Clare Collins
412-352-2886
JAMA and Archives Journals
5-Jun-2006


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