Tamoxifen is often used to prevent recurrence of hormonally driven breast cancer after surgery; however, it can cause significant side effects that adversely affect the quality of life of patients. It has previously been thought that a lower dose of tamoxifen (5 mg) might be as effective as the standard dose (20 mg), but with fewer side effects. In a phase III clinical trial of 500 women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), or atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), patients were randomized to receive low-dose tamoxifen (5 mg daily) or placebo for three years after surgery. At the follow-up period of 5.1 years after the completion of the three-year treatment period, there were 14 recurrences in the low-dose tamoxifen group versus 29 recurrences in the placebo group. Most recurrences were invasive breast cancer (stage I or higher). The number of recurrences in the low-dose group are comparable to prior studies with standard-dose tamoxifen. The main conclusion from the study was that low-dose tamoxifen is a valid treatment option for preventing recurrence in women with ADH, LCIS, and DCIS. It is important to note that this study cannot draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of low-dose tamoxifen as a treatment option for women with invasive breast cancer.
Highlights from the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
By Anh Diep, VMD, PhD Candidate, and Erika Bell, PhD, Manager of Medical Information, Bay Area Cancer Connections
In early December 2018, thousands of researchers from across the world convened in San Antonio, Texas, for the 41st Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. This five-day symposium brought together experts in basic, translational, and clinical research; clinicians; and patient advocates to present and discuss advances in breast cancer research and treatment. As progress in breast cancer continues, the challenges remain: to personalize treatment based on characteristics of the cancer, to minimize over- and under-treatment, and to maximize quality of life. This article highlights several of the talks from the 2018 symposium that are most likely to have a direct impact on the clinical care of breast cancer patients. For access to complete symposium resources, including abstracts, posters, and presentations, visit sabcs.org.