Aromatase Inhibitors drug, Femara given after 5 years of Tamoxifen therapy is found to give protection against occurrence of Breast cancer recurrence. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in women. Breast cancer mostly occurs in post menopausal women and various risk factors are attributed for the occurrence of breast cancer.
Treatment of breast cancer initially involves removal of the entire breast or part of the breast with the cancer lump followed by Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy. Cytotoxic drugs are given as chemotherapy for patients with breast cancer; usually 6 cycles of chemotherapeutic drugs are given such as Cyclophosphamide, 5 flurouracil, adiramycin. After these procedures 5 years of Tamoxifen therapy is recommended for post menopausal women. Tamoxifen therapy is recommended only for 5 years as studies in which tamoxifen given for more than 5 years shows no difference. Tamoxifen acts as an anti-estrogen by which it competitively inhibits the estrogens produced by the body, as estrogen is used up by the cancer cell for its growth and production. Metastasis and recurrence occurs in some cancer patients, though the chance of metastasis is very less as only 1 in 10000 cells has the capacity to reach the blood stream and cause cancer in a new organ.
Recurrence mostly occurs due to pitfalls or not properly taking therapy or tablets, even tamoxifen resistance developed by the patient may also lead to recurrence. Recurrence may occur at the same initial cancer site called as loco-regional or in a new site.
The new study using Femara Aromatase Inhibitors after 5 years of Tamoxifen therapy as found to give protection against occurrence of recurrence. Aromatase inhibitors lower the levels of estrogen in the body by acting on the Aromatase enzyme involved in making estrogen. The study was conducted in 5000 postmenopausal women who have finished their 5 years tamoxifen therapy and they were given femara for an other 5 years. Though the overall survival rates of both the group were same, the group taking femara had a significant lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. The patients with lymph node positive cancer had a significant better survival rate taking femara. Though femara had some side effects such as osteoporosis in 8.1 %, hot flashes in 58 % and hair loss, and these side effects are very common and less significant compared to its benefits.