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Drug could replace chemo

18th May 2007

Research published in the Lancet has suggested that a proportion of breast cancer patients could prevent the need for chemotherapy by taking an extra drug.

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The London researchers, from the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, the Wolfson Institute for Preventive Medicine, and Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry found that certain drugs could work as well as standard chemotherapy treatments.

LHRH agonists - for example the drug Zoladex - shut down the ovary and halt the manufacture of a female hormone which can advance the growth of tumours. They worked only in cases where the tumour was receptive to oestrogen.

Many types of breast cancer respond to hormones, including oestrogen, and can expand more quickly if a woman is generating them. The drug prevents the luteinising hormone from encouraging the release of more oestrogen.

The research teams discovered that pre-menopausal women given LHRH agonists had as successful results as patients given normal chemotherapy. If the treatments were given concurrently, the results were further improved and the chance of the cancer returning was reduced by 13%.

The drug could be particularly beneficial to younger patients who risk losing their fertility by undergoing standard chemotherapy treatments.

Dr Sarah Cant, from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "Women tell us that they like to have treatment choice and this could be another option for some younger women with hormone positive breast cancer. We encourage anyone wanting to find out more to speak to their doctor."



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Comments

charles linskaill

Friday 18th May 2007 @ 23:08

Hopefully this is a big step forward for women suffering such a devastating disease. It's good to see the research going on and women will stand a far better chance of survival than they did 30 years ago!
The problem now is, will NICE approve it for the NHS at only £84 per month per patient! I suspect not!


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