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Thursday 8th December 2016
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Approval for breast cancer drugs

15th August 2006

15082006_breastcancer.jpgA new class of breast cancer drugs have been given final draft approval by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), who have recommended the use of three aromatase inhibitors for early breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

The inhibitors target the hormone that is responsible for the growth and recurrence of many breast cancers. However, the new treatments will only be effective in hormone receptor-positive early stage breast cancer, which represents a minority of breast cancer cases.

The inhibitors, anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin) and letrozole (Femara), reduce the risk of tumours spreading following surgery.

The final guidance is still subject to appeal, and should be published in November.

Professor Jeffrey Tobias University College London, said that "This milestone brings us close to ending the postcode lottery which has been shown to significantly improve women's chances of surviving early breast cancer over and above the benefit seen with tamoxifen".

The Cancer charities Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign, Breast Cancer Care, and Cancerbackup welcomed the preliminary recommendations.  They said that along with the clinical benefits, and adding an important element of choice to treatment, the 'more tolerable side-effect profile of aromatase inhibitors will make a huge difference to the quality of life of many women'. 

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