A major breakthrough Monday in breast cancer prevention. This, after a six year nationwide study called the Star Trial.
The Star Trial involved about 20,000 women, all high risk for breast cancer, including Patsy Hixson and Barbara Lust who joined the study at John Arrington Cancer Center.
Both those ladies found out Monday the drug they had been taking all these years was Raloxifene and coincidentally, in news conferences everywhere Monday, that's the drug that was determined the so-called "winner"when compared with the gold standard, Tamoxifen. Not because it is any more effective in preventing breast cancer but it turns out Raloxifene has fewer side effects.
In the 20 years that Tamoxifen has been available under the brand name millions of women who are well, but high risk for breast cancer, have been taking the drug to prevent it, despite the side effects. And now, the Star Trial makes it clear that both these drugs reduce the risk of breast cancer by 50 percent but Raloxifene, which wears the brand name Evista, has a third fewer uterine cancers and blood clots and fewer cataracts than in women taking Tamoxifen.
Meanwhile at UMC's Southwest Cancer Center, researchers are busy calling women who participated in the Star Trial over there to reveal which drug those high risk women have been taking. As a result of the Star Trial, some women who have been taking Tamoxifen may be switched to Raloxifene, or Evista.
So why now take the older drug, Tamoxifen, at all? Because this new option, Raloxifene, only works in post-menopausal women and it's not even approved yet for breast cancer prevention, but Eli Lilly is hoping the FDA will give its approval for that by the end of this year.