The update of the international Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, known as STAR, was presented Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Washington, D.C., by Dr. D. Lawrence Wickerham, an Allegheny General Hospital doctor who is associate director of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, which oversaw the trial.
After tracking more than 19,000 women for nearly seven years, STAR found that raloxifene is 75 percent as good at preventing breast cancer as tamoxifen, but is much less likely to cause endometrial cancer, cataracts and blood clots, Dr. Wickerham said. The study is expected to run for another two years, he said, but at this point, he doesn’t expect the final results to differ much from this week’s report.
Even though tamoxifen’s side effects are worse, it has a definite edge over raloxifene on cancer prevention, the study showed. Over several years, it said, tamoxifen appears to lower the incidence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at high risk of the disease by about 50 percent, while raloxifene lowers the incidence by 38 percent.
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