Preventative therapies for healthy women at high risk of breast cancer
Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London, UK
Abstract: Tamoxifen has been shown to reduce the risk of developing estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer by at least 50%, in both pre- and postmenopausal women. The current challenge is to find new agents with fewer side effects and to find agents that are specifically suitable for premenopausal women with ER-negative breast cancer. Other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), such as raloxifene, arzoxifene, and lasofoxifene, have been shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 50%–80%. SERMs are interesting agents for the prevention of breast cancer, but longer follow-up is needed for some of them for a complete risk–benefit profile of these drugs. Aromatase inhibitors have emerged as new drugs in the prevention setting for postmenopausal women. In the Mammary Prevention 3 (MAP3) trial, a 65% reduction in invasive breast cancer with exemestane was observed, and the Breast Cancer Intervention Study-II trial, which compared anastrozole with placebo, reported a 60% reduction in those cancers. Although SERMs and aromatase inhibitors have been proven to be excellent agents in the preventive setting specifically for postmenopausal women and ER-positive breast cancer, newer agents have to be found specifically for ER-negative breast cancers, which mostly occur in premenopausal women.
Keywords: breast cancer, preventive therapy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, aromatase inhibitors, high-risk women
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