Breast cancer has been declared the most common cancer in the developing and developed world alike, which can eventually lead to mortality. Following breakthroughs in the last century with treatments and genetic markers, the importance of early diagnosis, treatment and follow-up remains advocated.
Tamoxifen has been a successful treatment in breast cancer for almost forty years. Tamoxifen-can reduce breast cancer risk as a chemopreventative and it was listed in the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s most recent Essential Medicines List in 2013. Facts about Tamoxifen:
- It acts as selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) for estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancers, which account for 70 – 75 % of all cases, as well as node positive cancers
- While Tamoxifen antagonises the oversensitive estrogen receptors from responding to circulating levels, it also maintains good bone health, by activating the estrogen receptors of the bone, which have a difference in binding kinetics. This leads to an increase in bone mineral density and maintains calcium serum levels at an optimum level
- Tamoxifen is taken typically for 5 years to prevent recurrence of disease
- Meta analyses studies have shown that recurrence rate as well as cancer related death rates are significantly decreased following a 10 year follow-up from the beginning of treatments
Tamoxifen is also thought to have been chemopreventative, which was demonstrated by the United States Preventative Services Task Force, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013. Estrogen receptor positive risk can be reduced by up to 49 % with use of Tamoxifen in postmenopausal patients, as well as high risk premenopausal women with no previous blood clots and younger than 50 years old. This gives an alternative to other preventative methods for women who test positive for the BRCA gene, a genetic biomarker that can imply future susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancers.
Tamoxifen citrate tablets produced by Taj Generics Pharmaceuticals come in a variety of 10, 20, 30 and 40 mg doses, being the generic equivalent of Nolvadex.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ‘Using Medications to Decrease the Risk for Breast Cancer in Women: Recommendations’ Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(10):I-28