Ten Years of Tamoxifen
This is today's breaking news from ASCO. A study from the UK indicates that ten years of tamoxifen is even more helpful than five years. Until the introduction of the AIs, Tamoxifen was the only anti-estrogen or hormonal treatment for women of all ages with ER positive breast cancer. The standard of care with any of these drugs initially was five years, but, if you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know that there have been recent studies suggesting that longer duration of therapy with AIs is helpful. Now there is evidence that is true, too, for Tamoxifen.
Here is a quote from ASCO's Patient Site (see yesterday's entry for more information re their coverage of ASCO news) and then a link to read more:
.. .. ....Ten Years of Tamoxifen Works Better to Lower the Risk of a Breast Cancer Recurrence
..A recent study comparing five or 10 years of tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox) therapy for early-stage, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer showed that continuing tamoxifen for longer than five years further lowers the risk of a breast cancer recurrence (return of the cancer) and death. ER-positive breast cancer uses the hormone estrogen to grow and spread. Tamoxifen is a type of hormonal therapy that blocks the effects of estrogen on tumor growth and has been proven to lower the risk of a breast cancer recurrence and lengthen the lives of women with early-stage breast cancer. Currently, the standard length of tamoxifen therapy is five years, and women start it right after finishing surgery or chemotherapy.
This study included 6,953 women in the United Kingdom who had been taking tamoxifen for five years and then either stopped taking the drug or continued for an additional five years. Researchers found that both recurrences and deaths decreased with each year of continuing tamoxifen, and the women with the lowest risk of recurrence were those who took tamoxifen for more than nine years. Among the women who took tamoxifen for 10 years, about 17% had a recurrence, compared with 19% of those who took the drug for five years. Longer treatment also lowered the risk of dying from breast cancer. Researchers estimate that, compared to taking no tamoxifen, taking tamoxifen for 10 years reduces the deaths from breast cancer by a third in the first 10 years after diagnosis and by half in later years.