Shadow over breast cancer trial

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The Independent Online
WOMEN taking part in a controversial breast cancer drugs trial may be given a hormone supplement to reduce their risk of developing womb cancer, it emerged yesterday, writes Celia Hall.

Fifteen thousand healthy women at high risk of developing breast cancer are being asked to volunteer for the trial to see if the proven breast cancer drug tamoxifen, can prevent high-risk women from developing the disease.

But tamoxifen has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the endometrium, the lining of the womb, and tomorrow a report in the Lancet will provide more evidence of that risk.

Dr Rajendra Kedar and colleagues from Kings College and the Royal Marsden hospitals, London, found that 39 per cent of women in the pilot tamoxifen prevention trial developed abnormal changes in the endometrium compared to 10 per cent of those taking a placebo.

None developed endometrial cancer but the abnormal changes can be an early warning sign.