WESTPORT, Jun 15 (Reuters Health) - While there are adequate data to support a role for tamoxifen in reducing the risk of breast cancer, it is premature to make such a recommendation for raloxifene.
That's the conclusion of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Working Group on Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Strategies, which recently completed an independent review of all available research on tamoxifen and raloxifene. An ASCO Special Article on breast cancer risk reduction strategies appears in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"At the end of our review, we felt that there was significant evidence that tamoxifen is associated with reduction in risk of developing breast cancer but that there wasn't enough evidence to assess its role in improving survival, either breast-cancer-related or overall, or having an impact on benefiting general health," Dr. Rowan T. Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in California, told Reuters Health Monday.
As a result, Dr. Chlebowski, who co-chaired the ASCO Working Group on Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Strategies, said that the panel concluded that tamoxifen "..may be offered to women who are at modestly increased risk for developing breast cancer, but the focus has to be just on the breast cancer risk because we do not know about other kinds of benefits."
The ASCO panel recommends that physicians consider not only the patients' risk of developing breast cancer but also the perceived importance of this risk by the patient when making decisions regarding tamoxifen use, Dr. Chlebowski said in the interview.
With regards to raloxifene for breast cancer risk reduction, the available data are "limited," Dr. Chlebowski told Reuters Health. As a result, "...we felt it was premature to recommend raloxifene's use for risk reduction at the present time outside of the clinical trial setting."
This recommendation, he said, incorporates the new data on raloxifene to be published this week in The Journal of The American Medical Association.
J Clin Oncol 1999;17:1939-1955.