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Anastrozole Halves Breast Cancer Incidence in High-Risk Postmenopausal Women — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 13, 2013

Anastrozole Halves Breast Cancer Incidence in High-Risk Postmenopausal Women

By Amy Orciari Herman

The aromatase inhibitor anastrozole cuts breast cancer incidence in half among high-risk postmenopausal women, according to an industry-supported trial in the Lancet.

Nearly 4000 postmenopausal women at increased risk (e.g., two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer) were randomized to receive daily anastrozole or placebo for 5 years. During a median 5 years' follow-up, breast cancer developed significantly less often among anastrozole recipients (2% vs. 4%). The researchers estimate that 36 women would need to receive anastrozole to prevent one cancer during a 7-year period.

Adverse effects frequently seen with estrogen deprivation, including musculoskeletal and vasomotor symptoms, were more common in the anastrozole group.

The researchers say their results "strongly support" anastrozole for preventing breast cancer in high-risk women. A commentator, however, points to the side-effect profile, as well as the uncertain benefits on breast cancer mortality.

Reader Comments (4)

ines buecker Dr.med. Physician, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Hospital

good comment

Nadejda Codreanu Other, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Universyti medicine

Intristing

Kathryn Clough

My side effects are:permanent hair loss (only hair loss was mentioned -never permanent); insomnia -- the drug kept me wide awake; had to take Xanox to sleep; bone loss and pain; had to get a tooth pulled; fell two times and had walking boots - it hurt; bone pain with depression; two different doctors never addressed Arimidex as the cause of my problems till the oncologist told me to stop the medicine for a month, and my extreme arm pain went away. I don't want the permanent hair loss, so I mostly stopped the drug. How do I stop more hair loss? How long with that continue? I still have over a year to meet the 5 years on drug.

Kevin Hubbard, DO Physician, Emergency Medicine

To short of a study time and to small of a population. Pilot study comes to mind.

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