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Raloxifene Equals Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer Prevention

Preliminary results from STAR trial suggest uterine cancer risk lower with raloxifene than tamoxifen

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Raloxifene is equal to tamoxifen at preventing invasive breast cancer and may offer some advantages over tamoxifen, including a lower risk of uterine cancer and blood clots, according to preliminary results of the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) trial released this week by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

In the trial, researchers randomly assigned 19,747 postmenopausal women at heightened breast cancer risk to five years of daily treatment with 60 milligrams of raloxifene or 20 milligrams of tamoxifen.

Invasive breast cancers fell 50 percent in both groups, but women on raloxifene had a 36 percent lower risk of uterine cancer and 29 percent lower risk of blood clots than those taking tamoxifen, the researchers report.

Both drugs are known to help prevent osteoporosis but increase women's blood clot risk. However, uterine cancer is a rare side effect of tamoxifen, the researchers note. Unlike tamoxifen, raloxifene does not increase cataract risk.

"Although no drugs are without side effects, tamoxifen and raloxifene are vital options for women who are at increased risk of breast cancer and want to take action," Leslie Ford, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute, said in a statement. "For many women, raloxifene's benefits will outweigh its risks in a way that tamoxifen's benefits do not."

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