Drug Therapy Cuts Risk of Breast Cancer Relapse

Aromatase inhibitors work after tamoxifen regimen ends
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2008 7:16 AM CDT
The new research shows there is a need for a "paradigm shift" in treating breast cancer survivors, Nancy U. Lin and Eric P. Winer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute wrote in an editorial that accompanied...   ((c) patti haskins)
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(Newser) – New research shows that women can cut the risk of breast cancer recurring years later by taking certain drugs, the Washington Post reports. Studies show that the drugs, known as aromatase inhibitors, sharply reduced the risk of cancer's return after women had finished their regimen of the widely used tamoxifen. The findings could dramatically change the treatments breast cancer survivors are given.

Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker, reduces the risk of breast cancer returning, but it loses effectiveness and raises other health risks after five years. "What is important for doctors and patients to recognize unfortunately is that the risk of recurrence of this type of breast cancer does not end at five years," a researcher told Reuters. Aromatase inhibitors cut the cancer risk even in women who had ceased taking tamoxifen 7 years earlier.