October 24, 2008

Tamoxifen Associated with Reduction in Bone Fractures


Tamoxifen Associated with Reduction in Bone Fractures

The use of the hormone agent Novaldex (tamoxifen) may reduce the risk of bone fractures in women 50 years or older. These results were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Women with hormone-positive breast cancer have cancer that is stimulated to grow from exposure to the female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. These women typically are treated with hormonal therapy so that the female hormones do not affect cellular growth of the cancer. Historically, tamoxifen was the most commonly used hormonal therapy agent and it is still a commonly used agent for hormone-positive breast cancer among postmenopausal women.

Fortunately, tamoxifen has been associated with an increase in bone density among its users; however, the effect of increased bone density has not yet been evaluated in terms of its association with bone fractures.

Researchers from Canada recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate the effects of tamoxifen on bone fractures among women aged 50 years or older. Women treated at the Province of Manitoba from 1996 to 2004 for bone fractures were also evaluated regarding their use of tamoxifen. These women were compared to another group of women who had not had bone fractures.

Current use of tamoxifen was associated with a 32% reduced risk of a bone fracture.

Past use of tamoxifen was not associated with a reduction in bone fractures.

The researchers concluded that current use of tamoxifen among women 50 years of age or older reduces the risk of bone fractures; however, past use of tamoxifen does not reduce this risk. It is important for patients to remember that tamoxifen is associated with its own side effects, therefore, it?s always a good idea to discuss with a physician the risks and benefits of all treatment options.

Reference: Cooke A, Metge C, Lixe L, et al. Tamoxifen Use and Osteoporotic Fracture Risk: A Population-Based Analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Early on-line publication October 8, 2008. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.7123.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Screening/Prevention Breast Cancer, Uncategorized