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Breast Cancer Health Center

Femara Benefits Younger Women With Breast Cancer

Most Women May Not Need Additional Treatment
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Femara Slashes Estrogen Levels

The study, presented here at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 47th Annual Meeting, is the latest to point to a role of Femara in the treatment of postmenopausal women with breast cancer.

About three in five women with breast cancer have tumors that are fueled by estrogen, making hormone therapy a cornerstone of regimens to prevent recurrences and improve survival.

For 25 years, doctors have been using tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen from binding to cells and works against estrogen's ability to stimulate tumor growth and spread. So far, the benefits of tamoxifen have been shown to wane after five years of treatment, a major cause of concern, since one-third of cancers that recur come back between five and 10 years later.

That's where Femara and other aromatase inhibitors come in. Aromatase inhibitors lower the levels of circulating estrogens in the body. They inhibit the aromatase enzyme that produces estrogen.

The new study included 471 women who had a history of invasive breast cancer but no signs of breast cancer after five years of tamoxifen treatment. All had been treated with surgery and radiation before receiving tamoxifen alone or chemotherapy and tamoxifen. None was given an aromatase inhibitor.

By an average of eight years later, cancer came back in 26 women, and 10 other women developed tumors in their originally unaffected breasts. With these numbers, the researchers say that patients with higher risk for recurrence, particularly due to young age or lymph node involvement, would have the greater benefit from the addition of Femara.

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