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Tamoxifen May Cut Lung Cancer Deaths

Study Suggests Hormones Influence Some Lung Cancers
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Tamoxifen for Lung Cancer: Study Details continued...

The researchers looked at which women had been treated with anti-estrogen drugs and didn't find a difference between the groups when it came to getting lung cancer.

But fewer women with lung cancer on the anti-estrogen drugs died than what would be expected in the general population. They found 87% fewer cases of death from lung cancer in women on the anti-estrogen drugs than in the population at large.

The women not treated with anti-estrogen drugs had the same risk of dying from lung cancer as other women.

Tamoxifen for Lung Cancer: Second View

The study finding ''makes sense based on what we have seen in the lab," says Carolyn M. Klinge, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville, who reviewed the study findings for WebMD. She has done basic research in the laboratory on lung cancer cells.

In her research, she found that lung adenocarcinoma cells sometimes grew when treated with estradiol, a potent natural estrogen, and sometimes did not.

On looking further, she discovered that the cells that originated from women grew, but those from men did not.

Tamoxifen for Lung Cancer: The Future

''The question now is not whether there is an effect [of tamoxifen on lung cancer] but just how big it really is," Rapiti says. 

The value of tamoxifen for lung cancer treatment will probably be in a select group of patients, she says.

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