Breast Cancer Drug Bests Tamoxifen at Stopping Relapse
The newer breast cancer drug Arimidex clearly outperforms tamoxifen at preventing the disease from returning, an international study finds.
Arimidex (anastrozole), made by AstraZeneca, appeared to prevent relapse in up to 80 percent of postmenopausal cases, vs. the 50 percent normally credited to tamoxifen, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
"[Arimidex] is a better drug," said University of Texas researcher Dr. Aman Buzdar, who led the U.S. portion of the five-year study, which involved 2,000 American women and about 7,300 more from 20 other countries. The study, published in the online edition of The Lancet, was funded by AstraZeneca.
Tamoxifen, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration some three decades ago, stifles the tumor-promoting properties of the female hormone estrogen. Arimidex, among a new class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, prevents estrogen from being made in the first place, the AP reported.
Experts both in and outside the study cautioned that the research hadn't been conducted long enough to determine if Arimidex improved users' overall survival, the wire service reported. Since study participants had very early cancers and had among the best prognoses, it wasn't possible to compare survival statistics among users of the newer drug vs. the older standard. That, the experts said, would take longer than five years.
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