"This research gives older women facing certain medical decisions another option," explained principal investigator Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., distinguished professor and Chief, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, UC San Diego School of Medicine. "For example, if a woman at risk for osteoporosis is considering taking medication, and has no history of blood clots or stroke, raloxifene might be a more appealing option due to its protective role in invasive breast cancer."
The RUTH trial, the world's largest study of women and heart disease, was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 177 sites, in 26 countries, on five continents. Between June 1998 and August 2000, 10,101 postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease or several heart disease risk factors were randomly assigned to raloxifene or to placebo and followed for a median of 5.6 years. The 5,044 women who took raloxifene had a 55 percent reduction in risk of developing invasive ER-positive breast cancer as compared to the 5,057 women who took placebo.
The initial results of the RUTH trial were published in 2006. The reduction in breast cancer risk was consistent with findings from other trials that involved women who did not have heart disease. However, women who took raloxifene in the RUTH trial had an increased incidence of blood clots and fatal strokes compared to those who took placebo. Thus, the researchers concluded that women considering use of raloxifene need to weigh the risks and benefits.
Study author Deborah Grady, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined the RUTH trial data in mor
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University of California - San Diego