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VIDEO: Femara(R) helps protect against return of breast cancer even when treatment starts several years after completing tamoxifen therapy
Date:3/10/2008

ston and the lead investigator of MA-17. "These data reinforce the need for women diagnosed with breast cancer to go back to their doctors and continue to discuss ways to reduce their risk of recurrence."

More than 50% of breast cancer recurrences and deaths occur five or more years after completing tamoxifen treatment(1). Femara is the only drug in the aromatase inhibitor class with data showing its potential to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning even when started several years after initial treatment with tamoxifen.

A separate intent-to-treat analysis of unblinded results from the MA-17 trial, published today in the Annals of Oncology, supports the significant benefit of initiating Femara within three months of completing five years of tamoxifen(2). If women do not have the opportunity to begin Femara treatment within three months of completing tamoxifen, the exploratory analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates they may still benefit from starting Femara up to several years later.

MA-17 was an international, double-blinded, randomized, multi-center Phase III trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Femara versus placebo in breast cancer survivors who had completed five years of tamoxifen treatment. It was led by the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario with funding from the Canadian Cancer Society and support from Novartis.

The trial was unblinded in 2003 after the first planned interim analysis showed a marked benefit for Femara in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence(2). At that time, women in the placebo arm were offered the chance to start treatment with Femara or to continue without additional treatment.

The analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology evaluated the subset of 2,383 women who were in the placebo group when the MA-17 trial was unblinded. Of these women, 1,579 chose to switch to Femara, while 804 chos
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SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
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