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Managing the risk of invasive breast cancer in women at risk for breast cancer and osteoporosis: the role of raloxifene

Authors Victor G Vogel

Published 5 December 2008 Volume 2008:3(4) Pages 601—609


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Victor G Vogel

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Abstract: Raloxifene hydrochloride is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that has antiestrogenic effects on breast and endometrial tissue and estrogenic effects on bone, lipid metabolism, and blood clotting. Raloxifene significantly improves serum lipids and serum markers of cardiovascular disease risk, but it has no significant effect on the risk of primary coronary events. A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of raloxifene for osteoporosis showed the odds of fracture risk were 0.60 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.49–0.74) for raloxifene 60 mg/day compared with placebo. During 8 years of follow-up in an osteoporosis trial, the raloxifene group had a 76% reduction in the incidence of invasive ER-positive breast cancer compared with the placebo group. In the STAR trial, the incidence of invasive breast cancer was 4.30 per 1000 women-years with raloxifene and 4.41 per 1000 with tamoxifen; RR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.82–1.28. The effect of raloxifene on invasive breast cancer was, therefore, equivalent to that of tamoxifen with more favorable rates of adverse effects including uterine malignancy and clotting events. Millions of postmenopausal women could derive net benefit from raloxifene through reduced rates of fracture and invasive breast cancer.

Keywords: raloxifene, osteoporosis, breast cancer risk reduction

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