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Switch to Anastrozole Helps Breast Cancer Survival

Benefit observed for postmenopausal women who switch to anastrozole after two to three years of tamoxifen

MONDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Women with breast cancer who switch to anastrozole after two to three years of treatment with tamoxifen have improved event-free and overall survival, possibly avoiding side-effects and drug resistance associated with tamoxifen, according to a report published online Nov. 17 in The Lancet Oncology.

Walter Jonat, M.D., from the University of Kiel in Germany, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of three clinical trials including 4,006 postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early-stage breast cancer. The women had been treated with tamoxifen for two to three years and had either switched to anastrozole (1 mg/day) or had continued 20 to 30 mg/day of tamoxifen, for a total of five years.

The researchers found that switching to anastrozole significantly improved disease-free, event-free, distant recurrence-free, and overall survival (hazard ratios 0.59, 0.55, 0.61, and 0.71, respectively).

"These findings confirm that clinicians should consider switching postmenopausal women who have taken adjuvant tamoxifen for two to three years to anastrozole," Jonat and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded by AstraZeneca.

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