Raloxifene and breast cancer. There has been a great deal of press interest recently in whether the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene can have an impact on the outcome for breast cancer patients. But what’s the evidence? Does this drug reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer?
The new drug called Tykerb, couple with chemotherapy, has show in clinical trials to do a better job of fighting breast cancer than chemo alone.
Dr. Gary M. Freedman, a radiation oncologist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia said,”There’s still a lot of questions that remain, but this study confirms that five years of tamoxifen alone is really becoming the wrong answer for most postmenopausal women. At this point, you have to say that aromatase inhibitors are in the mix of treatment at some point.”
But is there a place for the medication in the prevention of new breast cancer cases? That answer still remains elusive so we don’t know if it should be given to healthy women as a way of reducing breast cancer risk.
Cancer experts are encouraged by the results but warn that this trial was conducted in a particular group of postmenopausal women with heart disease and that therefore the results may not necessarily be applicable to other women – and further research will be needed to confirm the findings. Some commentators have also raised worries that this study was primarily designed to investigate the effects of raloxifene in reducing the risk of heart disease – which it didn’t do. They fear that the number of women in the trial might not have been big enough to properly assess breast cancer risks.