Calls for drug which 'halves likelihood of high-risk women developing breast cancer' to be made freely available on NHS
Anastrozole found to be more effective than tamoxifen and raloxifene - the two preventative drugs made accessable to thousands on NHS this year
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Thursday 12 December 2013
A breast cancer drug that protects women more effectively than either of the current treatments should be made freely available on the NHS, experts have urged.
In trials, the drug anastrozole was found to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer in post-menopausal women who were already at high risk by 53 per cent, making it more effective than tamoxifen and raloxifene - the two preventative drugs made available to thousands of women on the NHS earlier this year.
The study led by Queen Mary, University of London, and published in The Lancet, looked at almost 4,000 postmenopausal women, half of whom were given anastrozole daily for five years, while the other half took a placebo.
85 women in the placebo group developed breast cancer, compared to just 40 in the anastrozole group.
Tamoxifen and raloxifene reduce risk by around 40 per cent.
Professor Jack Cuzick, lead researcher and head of Queen Mary’s Centre for Cancer Prevention, said that anastrozole should now be the “drug of choice” for postmenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer, or other risk factors.
“This class of drugs is more effective than previous drugs and crucially, it has fewer side effects…in this study, the reported side effects were only slightly higher than in the placebo arm,” he said.
“Our priority now is ensuring that as many women as possible can benefit from these new findings,” Professor Cuzick added. “We strongly urge the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to consider adding anastrozole to their recommended drugs for women who are predisposed to developing breast cancer. By including this drug in their clinical guidelines, more women will benefit from this important advancement in preventive medicine.”
Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at Nice, said: "We will certainly consider this research - along with all other available evidence - when the Nice guideline on familial breast cancer is next updated.”
Life & Style blogs
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
A nap a day could save your life
Windows 10 automatically sends parents detailed dossier of their children's internet history and computer use
The antidote to Tinder? Majority of dating app users want relationship, rather than hook-ups, study finds
The truth behind who really buys sex dolls, from the man who makes the most realistic ones you can buy
- 1 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 2 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 3 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 4 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...