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Study of adjuvant endocrine treatment for breast cancer reveals cost of noncompliance
Date:9/21/2009

etal problems. Exemestane was associated with significantly higher rates of arthralgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhoea and high cholesterol levels, but with significantly lower rates of hot flushes, vaginal bleeding and discharge, and thromboembolism than tamoxifen. Fractures and heart problems were similar between the two groups.

"The safety profile has been better for exemestane than for tamoxifen and I think this is a contributory factor to the lower discontinuation rates amongst the patients on exemestane," said Prof van de Velde.

After two and three-quarter years of follow-up, among the women on exemestane there were 11% fewer cases of a local recurrence of the tumour, distant metastases, breast cancer in the other breast (contralateral breast cancer) and deaths occurring without a relapse of the disease, than among the women on tamoxifen (352 in the exemestane patients and 388 in the tamoxifen patients). There were no differences between the two groups for time to contralateral breast cancer or overall survival, and no unexpected safety issues were reported. Patients aged 70 or over and women with breast cancer that had spread to only one to three lymph nodes had a significantly better disease-free survival on exemestane than on tamoxifen.

"The current analysis covers a short period of time with relatively few deaths occurring and this makes it difficult to see significant differences between the two groups. However, the data from TEAM indicate that early use of exemestane in these high risk patients appears to be safe and a more effective endocrine treatment than tamoxifen for reducing breast cancer recurrence," said Prof van de Velde. "The study is continuing and the next end point has already been reached, so that we now have enough events to conclude whether starting with tamoxifen and switching to exemestane is better or worse than starting with exemestane. These results will be presented at the San Antonio breast cancer sym
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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