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Male breast cancer patients stop taking tamoxifen early because of drug-related side effects
Date:11/15/2011

may have the potential to increase the risk of the cancer recurring in this group of male breast cancer patients.

"Male breast cancer is a very rare and unique cancer affecting approximately 2,000 men in the USA per year. As there are so few male breast cancer cases, clinical practice and optimal treatment strategies have been extrapolated from female breast cancer patients with very little published evidence to guide clinical decisions. In our institution, we noted that several of our male patients were having difficulty with taking tamoxifen therapy, and these side effects appeared to be a little bit different to those reported with women receiving the same drug."

Weight gain and loss of sex drive were the most frequently occurring tamoxifen-related side effects observed in the study. Of the 13 male patients who stopped taking tamoxifen early because of side effects, four of the discontinuation decisions (31%) were physician-directed (four thromboembolic events) and nine (69%) were patient-directed preferences based on the intolerable side-effects. Nine patients died after stopping tamoxifen early in the study.

Dr Pemmaraju said: "Tamoxifen is a hormonal treatment, specifically an anti-oestrogen. We think that men might experience some different side effects than women because men have a different hormonal environment than women (for instance they have more testosterone and less oestrogen). This difference in hormone levels could result in different side effects when using a drug that blocks hormones.

"The results of this study should not change the recommendation for prescribing tamoxifen for male breast cancer patients. However, clinicians need to be aware of the possible side effects that men may experience when receiving tamoxifen so that the patients can be counselled appropriately," Dr Pemmaraju added. "This study also highlights the importance of funding and conducting research for rare disease so that we understand the
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Contact: Kay Roche
kayroche@gmail.com
003-538-729-92815
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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