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Many Women With Breast Cancer Don’t Need High Dose Tamoxifen

Women with some types of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer may be able to take a much lower dose of Soltamox (tamoxifen) to reduce the risk of a recurrence of a new disease, according to research presented Dec. 5 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. in Texas. The study examined a 5 milligram (mg) dose of Soltamox for three years, and showed the drug cut the risk of disease recurrence and new disease in half while reducing side effects associated with higher doses.

Typically, women are prescribed a daily 20 mg dose of Soltamox after surgery and other treatments for at least five years. The study, conducted by Italian researchers, may lead to a reassessment of the necessary tamoxifen dose and a shorter three-year course of treatment for some patients.

The research addresses a flaw in many drug studies: Drugs are often approved without in-depth research on the lowest effective dose.

“We know very well that tamoxifen is very effective in prevention,” says the study’s lead author. Andrea de Sensi, MD, Director of the Medical Oncology Unit at EO Ospedali Galliera in Genoa, Italy. “It is not clear what the minimum dose is to elicit its biological and clinical effects.”

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