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News2001July › Long term tamoxifen of little benefit in breast cancer › July 2001

Long term tamoxifen of little benefit in breast cancer

Breast cancer patients have nothing to gain from taking tamoxifen for longer than five years, according to a new study

Breast cancer patients have nothing to gain from taking tamoxifen for longer than five years, according to a new study.

When researchers analysed data from 1172 women randomly assigned to either continue taking the drug after five years or take a placebo, they found that those taking the placebo had a greater chance of being disease free after seven years (82 per cent versus 78 per cent with tamoxifen).

The benefit is small, but given the potential adverse effects of tamoxifen which include an increased risk of endometrial abnormalities many women may welcome the news that the drug does not need to be taken long term (BMJ, 2001; 322: 1140).


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