[MOL] Vitamin compound may help young breast cancer women [01723] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Vitamin compound may help young breast cancer women

Vitamin compound may help young breast cancer women
    [09/28/2000; Reuters News Service]

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A drug based on a derivative of vitamin A
may help to prevent high-risk young women from developing breast
cancer, doctors said on Thursday. A study presented at the Second
European Breast Cancer Conference showed that
the vitamin A derivative, called fenretinide, prevented a second
tumor developing in young women with early breast cancer. ``The
results suggest that when fenretinide is used against a background
of circulating estrogen, as there is in premenopausal women,
it has potential to prevent the disease,'' Dr Alberto Costa,
of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, told the conference.
``This drug could make a major impact, both as a treatment and as a
primary preventive of breast cancer in younger women and, what
is also important, it appears to be well tolerated,'' he added.
Costa and his colleagues tested the compound on nearly 3,000 women
with early breast cancer. Half were given fenretinide after surgery
for five years and the other half received no further treatment. When
the researchers followed up the women eight years after the initial
treatment, they discovered only 27 of the younger women who had
taken the compound developed a second cancer in the healthy breast
and 58 in the same breast, compared to 42 and 87 in the untreated
group. But when the scientists checked the results of women who
were past menopause, the opposite occurred. Women who had not
taken the derivative had fewer secondary cancers than those who

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