Several conditions of the breast commonly occur before the development of breast cancer. Some of these conditions, such as intraductal hyperplasia with atypia and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), are microscopic risk factors that can indicate that a woman is at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are very likely to develop breast cancer if not properly treated.
Tamoxifen has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk in women iwth specific premalignant breast cancges in the P1 and P2 NSABP trials. Results from the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT) have shown that women at increased risk for breast cancer are less likely to develop the disease if they take tamoxifen. Women in the study took either tamoxifen or a placebo pill for 5 years. After 7 years of follow-up, women taking tamoxifen had 42% fewer breast cancers than women who took the placebo, although there was no difference in the risk of death due to breast cancer. Tamoxifen is approved for reducing breast cancer risk in high-risk women.
The MORE trial for osteoposrosis suggested that raloxifen decreases risks of breast cancer as well. Whether raloxifene or tamoxifene is superior in cancer prevention in women at risk is the subject on an oanging trial, Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) for the Prevention of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women, NCT00003906. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) trial, found that raloxifene worked as well as tamoxifen in reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer, although it didn’t have the same protective effect against non-invasive cancer (DCIS or LCIS). Raloxifene did, however, have lower risks of certain side effects such as uterine cancer and blood clots in the legs or lungs, compared to tamoxifen (although the risk of blood clots was still higher than normal).
Aromatase inhibitors are being investigated for prevention in women with DCIS . Most DCIS lesions are likely to be ER-positive.
Results from the MAP.3 trial found that the aromatase inhibitor Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane) was good at lowering breast cancer risk in high-risk postmenopausal women, but weakened bones. The research was published Feb. 7, 2012 online in The Lancet Oncology.
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