By RTT News,
December 12, 2013, 10:11:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Breast cancer incidence among post-menopausal women at high risk for developing the disease was reduced more than 50 percent by AstraZeneca Plc's ( AZN ) cancer drug Arimidex, leading researchers say.
The findings on anastrozole, the antihormone therapy marketed as Arimidex, will be presented Thursday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
"We now know anastrozole should be the drug of choice when it comes to reducing the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women with a family history or other risk factors for the disease," said Jack Cuzick, Ph.D., who led the team of researchers.
About 80 percent of U.S. breast cancer patients have tumors with high levels of hormone receptors, and these tumors are fueled by the hormone estrogen. Arimidex prevents the body from making estrogen and is therefore used to treat postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
"Our initial results show that for postmenopausal women who do not have breast cancer, but are at high risk for developing the disease, anastrozole reduced breast cancer incidence by 53 percent with very few side effects," said Cuzick.
Cuzick warned that other antihormone therapies being used to prevent breast cancer, namely tamoxifen and raloxifene, are not as effective and can have adverse side effects.
The study, which will be published in the Lancet medical journal, included more than 3,800 postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer due to having two or more blood relatives with breast cancer, having a mother or sister who developed breast cancer before age 50, or having a mother or sister who had breast cancer in both breasts.
The research was supported by funds from Cancer Research U.K., the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi-Aventis.
Astra's Arimidex sales down were 26 percent to $90 million in the third quarter amid generic competition.
Breast cancer killed 522,000 women last year, up 14 percent from 2008, according to the World Health Organisation'sInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
"An urgent need in cancer control today is to develop effective and affordable approaches to the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer among women living in less developed countries," said Christopher Wild, IARC's director.
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