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Doctors must collaborate so that patients get full benefit of tamoxifen treatment
Date:3/24/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

Barcelona, Spain: Recently published research has shown that some breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen may not be getting the full benefit of their treatment because they have also been taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), prescribed drugs that inhibit the effect of an important enzyme. Now researchers have developed a strategy for overcoming this problem, the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona will hear today (Wednesday). Mr. Sean Hopkins, a clinical pharmacy specialist in breast cancer at the Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre, Ottawa, Canada, will present his research which shows that changing drug therapy at an early stage can help patients get the full benefit of tamoxifen and aid the effectiveness of their treatment.

Tamoxifen is used both to prevent development of oestrogen-receptor-positive cancer and as a therapy to stop it coming back. Taking medications such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine for depression (and in some patients hot flashes), and bupropion (Zyban) for smoking cessation, can inhibit the action of CYP2D6, an enzyme that is related to drug metabolism and response to treatment, and which is crucial to the metabolism of tamoxifen for breast cancer.

Mr. Hopkins and his team set out to investigate how many patients taking hormonal therapy for breast cancer were also being prescribed CYP2D6 inhibitors. Research has shown that up to 25% of breast cancer patients have depressive disorders, and many of them are prescribed SSRIs. Additionally, many patients with cancer try to give up smoking and may use non-nicotine replacement therapies, such as buproprion.

"The study published recently by the Toronto group1 looked at how outcomes were related to treatments that the patients were taking concurrently," says Mr. Hopkin
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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