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Long-Term Tamoxifen Use Linked to ER− Breast Cancer

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term tamoxifen use may put survivors of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer at higher risk of estrogen receptor-negative (ER−) cancer in the other breast, according to research published online Aug. 24 in Cancer Research.

Christopher I. Li, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 367 women with a first primary ER+ breast cancer, followed by a primary contralateral breast cancer, as well as 728 matched controls only diagnosed with a first breast cancer.

The researchers found that women using adjuvant tamoxifen for at least five years had a lower risk of ER+ cancer in the contralateral breast (odds ratio, 0.4), but a higher risk of ER− cancer in the contralateral breast (odds ratio, 4.4). However, the use of tamoxifen for less than five years was not linked to risk of ER− cancer in the contralateral breast.

"Risk of a hormone receptor-negative contralateral breast cancer may now need to be tallied among the risks of treatment with tamoxifen, and further studies are needed to determine if other hormonal therapies and the increasingly used aromatase inhibitors in particular, also carry this risk. Development of ER− and ER−/progesterone receptor-negative disease is of particular clinical concern given the substantially poorer prognosis associated with these tumors compared with ER+ disease," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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