Estrogen Level Determines Osteoporosis Drug's Breast Cancer Prevention
Effectiveness in Postmenopausal Women
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- January 9, 2002
A common osteoporosis
drug can reduce breast cancer in postmenopausal women with high
estrogen levels, but produces no reduction in risk for women
whose estrogen levels are very low, according to a University
of California-San Francisco (UCSF) study.
Researchers found that
raloxifene administered to a selected population of women reduced
their rate of breast cancer by 76 percent.
The study was published
in the January 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical
Association (JAMA). The authors studied 7290 postmenopausal women
aged 80 or younger with osteoporosis and no history of breast
cancer. Study participants were given either the recommended
daily 60 mg dose, a 120 mg dose, or a placebo.
Their blood was
screened for estradiol - the most potent form of estrogen. Women
with levels in the upper third of the range for the tested group
were shown to be at high risk of breast cancer and benefit most
from raloxifene at any dosage.
According to the authors, previous
studies have found that the risk of breast cancer rises with
increases in a woman's estrogen level. In some breast cancers,
proteins on the malignant cells have a receptor that locks to
estrogen molecules. Drugs like raloxifene block the effect of
estrogen in the breast.
The authors therefore postulated that
the success of drugs like raloxifene, called selective estrogen
receptor modulators (SERMs), in preventing breast cancer is likely
to depend on a woman's level of estrogen.
With little or no circulating
estrogen to feed breast cancer cells, a woman is already at reduced
risk, without treatment with SERMs.
[01/09/2002; Doctor's Guide]
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