"Nov. 21, 2012 -- Women over age 40 are often urged to get yearly mammograms with the promise that early detection is their best hope for beating breast cancer.
But a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine su"...
Tamoxifen citrate is a nonsteroidal agent that has demonstrated potent antiestrogenic properties in animal test systems. The antiestrogenic effects may be related to its ability to compete with estrogen for binding sites in target tissues such as breast. Tamoxifen inhibits the induction of rat mammary carcinoma induced by dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) and causes the regression of already established DMBA-induced tumors. In this rat model, tamoxifen appears to exert its antitumor effects by binding the estrogen receptors. In cytosols derived from human breast adenocarcinomas, tamoxifen competes with estradiol for estrogen receptor protein.
Absorption and Bioavailability
A pharmacokinetic study was performed in healthy perimenopausal and postmenopausal female subjects to evaluate the bioavailability of SOLTAMOX™ (tamoxifen citrate) (n=30) in comparison with the commercially available tamoxifen citrate tablets (n=33) under fasting conditions. A third arm evaluated the effect of food on SOLTAMOX™ (tamoxifen citrate) (n=16 evaluable). The rate and extent of absorption of SOLTAMOX™ was found to be bioequivalent to that of tamoxifen citrate tablets under fasting conditions.
In the food effect arm, the Cmax and AUC were comparable to the fasting group. Tmax was slightly longer in the fed group. There was no difference in bioavailability of SOLTAMOX™ (tamoxifen citrate) Oral Solution between fed and fasting states, and therefore SOLTAMOX™ (tamoxifen citrate) can be given without regard to meals.
Following a single oral dose of 20 mg tamoxifen, an average peak plasma concentration of 40 ng/mL (range 35 to 45 ng/mL) occurred approximately 5 hours after dosing. The decline in plasma concentrations of tamoxifen is biphasic with a terminal elimination half-life of about 5 to 7 days. The average peak plasma concentration of N-desmethyl tamoxifen is 15 ng/mL (range 10 to 20 ng/mL). Chronic administration of 10 mg tamoxifen given twice daily for 3 months to patients results in average steady-state plasma concentrations of 120 ng/mL (range 67-183 ng/mL) for tamoxifen and 336 ng/mL (range 148-654 ng/mL) for N-desmethyl tamoxifen. The average steady-state plasma concentrations of tamoxifen and N-desmethyl tamoxifen after administration of 20 mg tamoxifen once daily for 3 months are 122 ng/mL (range 71-183 ng/mL) and 353 ng/mL (range 152-706 ng/mL), respectively. After initiation of therapy, steady-state concentrations for tamoxifen are achieved in about 4 weeks and steady-state concentrations for N-desmethyl tamoxifen are achieved in about 8 weeks, suggesting a half-life of approximately 14 days for this metabolite. In a steady-state, crossover study of 10 mg tamoxifen tablets given twice a day vs. a 20 mg tamoxifen tablet given once daily, the 20 mg tamoxifen tablet was bioequivalent to the 10 mg tamoxifen tablets.
Tamoxifen is extensively metabolized after oral administration. N-desmethyl tamoxifen is the major metabolite found in patients' plasma. The biological activity of N-desmethyl tamoxifen appears to be similar to that of tamoxifen. 4-Hydroxytamoxifen and a side chain primary alcohol derivative of tamoxifen have been identified as minor metabolites in plasma. Tamoxifen is a substrate of cytochrome P-450 3A, 2C9 and 2D6, and an inhibitor of P-glycoprotein.
Studies in women receiving 20 mg of 14C tamoxifen have shown that approximately 65% of the administered dose was excreted from the body over a period of 2 weeks with fecal excretion as the primary route of elimination. The drug is excreted mainly as polar conjugates, with unchanged drug and unconjugated metabolites accounting for less than 30% of the total fecal radioactivity.
The effects of age, gender and race on the pharmacokinetics of tamoxifen have not been determined. The effects of reduced liver function on the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of tamoxifen have not been determined.
The use of SOLTAMOX™ (tamoxifen citrate) in pediatric patients has not been evaluated.
In vitro studies showed that erythromycin, cyclosporine, nifedipine and diltiazem competitively inhibited formation of N-desmethyl tamoxifen with apparent K1of 20, 1, 45 and 30 ÁM, respectively. The clinical significance of these in vitro studies is unknown.
Tamoxifen reduced the plasma concentration of letrozole by 37% when these drugs were co-administered. Rifampin, a cytochrome P-450 3A4 inducer reduced tamoxifen AUC and Cmax by 86% and 55%, respectively. Aminoglutethimide reduces tamoxifen and N-desmethyl tamoxifen plasma concentrations. Medroxyprogesterone reduces plasma concentrations of N-desmethyl, but not tamoxifen.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Premenopausal Women (Tamoxifen Citrate vs. Ablation) - Three prospective, randomized studies (Ingle, Pritchard, Buchanan) compared tamoxifen to ovarian ablation (oophorectomy or ovarian irradiation) in premenopausal women with advanced breast cancer. Although the objective response rate, time to treatment failure, and survival were similar with both treatments, the limited patient accrual prevented a demonstration of equivalence. In an overview analysis of survival data from the 3 studies, the hazard ratio for death (tamoxifen /ovarian ablation) was 1.00 with two-sided 95% confidence intervals of 0.73 to 1.37. Elevated serum and plasma estrogens have been observed in premenopausal women receiving tamoxifen, but the data from the randomized studies do not suggest an adverse effect of this increase. A limited number of premenopausal patients with disease progression during tamoxifen therapy responded to subsequent ovarian ablation.
Male Breast Cancer
Published results from 122 patients (119 evaluable) and case reports in 16 patients (13 evaluable) treated with tamoxifen have shown that tamoxifen is effective for the palliative treatment of male breast cancer. Sixty-six of these 132 evaluable patients responded to tamoxifen which constitutes a 50% objective response rate.
Adjuvant Breast Cancer
The Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) conducted worldwide overviews of systemic adjuvant therapy for early breast cancer in 1985, 1990, and again in 1995. In 1998, 10-year outcome data were reported for 36,689 women in 55 randomized trials of adjuvant tamoxifen using doses of 20-40 mg/day for 1-5+ years. Twenty-five percent of patients received 1 year or less of trial treatment, 52% received 2 years, and 23% received about 5 years. Forty-eight percent of tumors were estrogen receptor (ER) positive ( > 10 fmol/mg), 21% were ER poor ( < 10 fmol/l), and 31% were ER unknown. Among 29,441 patients with ER positive or unknown breast cancer, 58% were entered into trials comparing tamoxifen to no adjuvant therapy and 42% were entered into trials comparing tamoxifen in combination with chemotherapy vs. the same chemotherapy alone. Among these patients, 54% had node positive disease and 46% had node negative disease. Among women with ER positive or unknown breast cancer and positive nodes who received about 5 years of treatment, overall survival at 10 years was 61.4% for tamoxifen vs. 50.5% for control (logrank 2p < 0.00001). The recurrence-free rate at 10 years was 59.7% for tamoxifen vs. 44.5% for control (logrank 2p < 0.00001). Among women with ER positive or unknown breast cancer and negative nodes who received about 5 years of treatment, overall survival at 10 years was 78.9% for tamoxifen vs. 73.3% for control (logrank 2p < 0.00001). The recurrence-free rate at 10 years was 79.2% for tamoxifen versus 64.3% for control (logrank 2p < 0.00001).
The effect of the scheduled duration of tamoxifen may be described as follows. In women with ER positive or unknown breast cancer receiving 1 year or less, 2 years or about 5 years of tamoxifen, the proportional reductions in mortality were 12%, 17% and 26%, respectively (trend significant at 2p < 0.003). The corresponding reductions in breast cancer recurrence were 21%, 29% and 47% (trend significant at 2p < 0.00001).
Benefit is less clear for women with ER poor breast cancer in whom the proportional reduction in recurrence was 10% (2p = 0.007) for all durations taken together, or 9% (2p = 0.02) if contralateral breast cancers are excluded. The corresponding reduction in mortality was 6% (NS). The effects of about 5 years of tamoxifen on recurrence and mortality were similar regardless of age and concurrent chemotherapy. There was no indication that doses greater than 20 mg per day were more effective.
Node Positive - Individual Studies
Two studies (Hubay and NSABP B-09) demonstrated an improved disease-free survival following radical or modified radical mastectomy in postmenopausal women or women 50 years of age or older with surgically curable breast cancer with positive axillary nodes when tamoxifen was added to adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy. In the Hubay study, tamoxifen was added to "low-dose" CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil). In the NSABP B-09 study, tamoxifen was added to melphalan [L-phenylalanine mustard (P)] and fluorouracil (F).
In the Hubay study, patients with a positive (more than 3 fmol) estrogen receptor were more likely to benefit. In the NSABP B-09 study in women age 50-59 years, only women with both estrogen and progesterone receptor levels 10 fmol or greater clearly benefited, while there was a nonstatistically significant trend toward adverse effect in women with both estrogen and progesterone receptor levels less than 10 fmol. In women age 60-70 years, there was a trend toward a beneficial effect of tamoxifen without any clear relationship to estrogen or progesterone receptor status.
Three prospective studies (ECOG-1178, Toronto, NATO) using tamoxifen adjuvantly as a single agent demonstrated an improved disease-free survival following total mastectomy and axillary dissection for postmenopausal women with positive axillary nodes compared to placebo/no treatment controls. The NATO study also demonstrated an overall survival benefit.
Node Negative - Individual Studies
NSABP B-14, a prospective, double-blind, randomized study, compared tamoxifen to placebo in women with axillary node-negative, estrogen-receptor positive (=10 fmol/mg cytosol protein) breast cancer (as adjuvant therapy, following total mastectomy and axillary dissection, or segmental resection, axillary dissection, and breast radiation). After five years of treatment, there was a significant improvement in disease-free survival in women receiving tamoxifen. This benefit was apparent both in women under age 50 and in women at or beyond age 50.
One additional randomized study (NATO) demonstrated improved disease-free survival for tamoxifen compared to no adjuvant therapy following total mastectomy and axillary dissection in postmenopausal women with axillary node-negative breast cancer. In this study, the benefits of tamoxifen appeared to be independent of estrogen receptor status.
Duration of Therapy
In the EBCTCG 1995 overview, the reduction in recurrence and mortality was greater in those studies that used tamoxifen for about 5 years than in those that used tamoxifen for a shorter period of therapy.
In the NSABP B-14 trial, in which patients were randomized to tamoxifen 20 mg/day for 5 years vs. placebo and were disease-free at the end of this 5-year period were offered rerandomization to an additional 5 years of tamoxifen or placebo. With 4 years of follow-up after this rerandomization, 92% of the women that received 5 years of tamoxifen were alive and disease-free, compared to 86% of the women scheduled to receive 10 years of tamoxifen (p=0.003). Overall survivals were 96% and 94%, respectively (p=0.08). Results of the B-14 study suggest that continuation of therapy beyond 5 years does not provide additional benefit.
A Scottish trial of 5 years of tamoxifen vs. indefinite treatment found a disease-free survival of 70% in the five-year group and 61% in the indefinite group, with 6.2 years median follow-up (HR= 1.27, 95% CI: 0.87-1.85).
In a large randomized trial conducted by the Swedish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group of adjuvant tamoxifen 40 mg/day for 2 or 5 years, overall survival at 10 years was estimated to be 80% in the patients in the 5-year tamoxifen group, compared with 74% among corresponding patients in the 2-year treatment group (p=0.03). Disease-free survival at 10 years was 73% in the 5-year group and 67% in the 2-year group (p=0.009). Compared with 2 years of tamoxifen treatment, 5 years of treatment resulted in a slightly greater reduction in the incidence of contralateral breast cancer at 10 years, but this difference was not statistically significant.
Contralateral Breast Cancer
The incidence of contralateral breast cancer is reduced in breast cancer patients
(premenopausal and postmenopausal) receiving tamoxifen compared to placebo. Data on contralateral breast cancer are available from 32,422 out of 36,689 patients in the 1995 overview analysis of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group (EBCTCG). In clinical trials with tamoxifen of 1 year or less, 2 years, and about 5 years duration, the proportional reductions in the incidence rate of contralateral breast cancer among women receiving tamoxifen were 13% (NS), 26% (2p = 0.004) and 47% (2p < 0.00001), with a significant trend favoring longer tamoxifen duration (2p = 0.008). The proportional reductions in the incidence of contralateral breast cancer were independent of age and ER status of the primary tumor. Treatment with about 5 years of tamoxifen reduced the annual incidence rate of contralateral breast cancer from 7.6 per 1,000 patients in the control group compared with 3.9 per 1,000 patients in the tamoxifen group.
In a large randomized trial in Sweden (the Stockholm Trial) of adjuvant tamoxifen 40 mg/day for 2-5 years, the incidence of second primary breast tumors was reduced 40% (p < 0.008) on tamoxifen compared to control. In the NSABP B-14 trial in which patients were randomized to tamoxifen 20 mg/day for 5 years vs. placebo, the incidence of second primary breast cancers was also significantly reduced (p < 0.01). In NSABP B-14, the annual rate of contralateral breast cancer was 8.0 per 1,000 patients in the placebo group compared with 5.0 per 1,000 patients in the tamoxifen group, at 10 years after first randomization.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ: NSABP B-24, a double-blind, randomized trial included women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). This trial compared the addition of tamoxifen or placebo to treatment with lumpectomy and radiation therapy for women with DCIS. The primary objective was to determine whether 5 years of tamoxifen therapy (20 mg/day) would reduce the incidence of invasive breast cancer in the ipsilateral (the same) or contralateral (the opposite) breast.
In this trial 1,804 women were randomized to receive either tamoxifen or placebo for 5 years: 902 women were randomized to tamoxifen 10 mg tablets twice a day and 902 women were randomized to placebo. As of December 31, 1998, follow-up data were available for 1,798 women and the median duration of follow-up was 74 months.
The tamoxifen and placebo groups were well balanced for baseline demographic and prognostic factors. Over 80% of the tumors were less than or equal to 1 cm in their maximum dimension, were not palpable, and were detected by mammography alone. Over 60% of the study population was postmenopausal. In 16% of patients, the margin of the resected specimen was reported as being positive after surgery. Approximately half of the tumors were reported to contain comedo necrosis.
For the primary endpoint, the incidence of invasive breast cancer was reduced by 43% among women assigned to tamoxifen (44 cases - tamoxifen, 74 cases - placebo; p=0.004; relative risk (RR)=0.57, 95% CI: 0.39-0.84). No data are available regarding the ER status of the invasive cancers. The stage distribution of the invasive cancers at diagnosis was similar to that reported annually in the SEER data base.
Results are shown in Table 1. For each endpoint the following results are presented: the number of events and rate per 1,000 women per year for the placebo and tamoxifen groups; and the relative risk (RR) and its associated 95% confidence interval (CI) between tamoxifen and placebo. Relative risks less than 1.0 indicate a benefit of tamoxifen therapy. The limits of the confidence intervals can be used to assess the statistical significance of the benefits of tamoxifen therapy. If the upper limit of the CI is less than 1.0, then a statistically significant benefit exists.
|Major Outcomes of the NSABP B-24 Trial|
|Type of Event||Lumpectomy, radiotherapy, and placebo||Lumpectomy, radiotherapy, and tamoxifen||RR||95% CI Limits|
|No. of Events||Rate per 1000 women per year||No.of events||Rate per 1000 women per year|
|Invasive breast cancer (Primary cndpoint)||74||16.73||44||9.60||0.57||0.39 to 0.84|
|- Ipsilateral||47||10.61||27||5.90||0.56||0.33 to 0.91|
|- Contralateral||25||5.64||17||3.71||0.66||0.33 to 1.27|
|- Side undetermined||2||0|
|DCIS||56||12,66||41||8.95||0.71||0.46 to 1.08|
|- Ipsilateral||46||10.40||38||8.29||0.88||0.51 to 1.25|
|- Contralateral||10||2.26||3||0.65||0.29||0.05 to 1.13|
|- All Breast Cancer Events||129||29.16||84||18.34||0.63||0.47 to 0.83|
|- All Ipsilateral events||96||21.70||65||14.19||0.65||0.47 to 0.91|
|-All Contralateral events||37||8.36||20||4.37||0.52||0.29 to 0.92|
|Secondary primary malignancies(other than endometrial and breast)||30||29|
|Thromboembolic events (DVT, PE)||5||15|
|1Updated follow-up data (median 8.1 years)|
Survival was similar in the placebo and tamoxifen groups. At 5 years from study entry, survival was 97% for both groups.
Reduction in Breast Cancer Incidence in High Risk Women: The Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT, NSABP P-1) was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with a primary objective to determine whether 5 years of tamoxifen therapy (20 mg/day) would reduce the incidence of invasive breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease (See INDICATIONS). Secondary objectives included an evaluation of the incidence of ischemic heart disease; the effects on the incidence of bone fractures; and other events that might be associated with the use of tamoxifen, including: endometrial cancer, pulmonary embolus, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and cataract formation and surgery (See WARNINGS).
The Gail Model was used to calculate predicted breast cancer risk for women who were less than 60 years of age and did not have lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). The following risk factors were used: age; number of first-degree female relatives with breast cancer; previous breast biopsies; presence or absence of atypical hyperplasia; nulliparity; age at first live birth; and age at menarche. A 5-year predicted risk of breast cancer of = 1.67% was required for entry into the trial.
In this trial, 13,388 women of at least 35 years of age were randomized to receive either tamoxifen or placebo for five years. The median duration of treatment was 3.5 years. As of January 31, 1998, follow-up data is available for 13,114 women. Twenty-seven percent of women randomized to placebo (1,782) and 24% of women randomized to tamoxifen (1,596) completed 5 years of therapy. The demographic characteristics of women on the trial with follow-up data are shown in Table 2.
|Demographic Characteristics of Women in the NSABPP-1 Trial|
|Age at first live birth (yrs.)|
|Age at menarche|
|# of first degree relatives with breast cancer|
|# of previous breast biopsies|
|History of atypical hyperplasia in the breast|
|History of LCIS at entry|
|5-year predicted breast cancer risk (%)|
Results are shown in Table 3. After a median follow-up of 4.2 years, the incidence of invasive breast cancer was reduced by 44% among women assigned to tamoxifen (86 cases-tamoxifen, 156 cases-placebo; p < 0.00001; relative risk (RR)=0.56, 95% CI: 0.43- 0.72). A reduction in the incidence of breast cancer was seen in each prospectively specified age group (= 49, 50-59, = 60), in women with or without LCIS, and in each of the absolute risk levels specified in Table 3. A non-significant decrease in the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was seen (23-tamoxifen, 35-placebo; RR=0.66; 95% CI: 0.39-1.11).
There was no statistically significant difference in the number of myocardial infarctions, severe angina, or acute ischemic cardiac events between the two groups (61-tamoxifen, 59-placebo; RR=1.04, 95% CI: 0.73-1.49).
No overall difference in mortality (53 deaths in tamoxifen group vs. 65 deaths in placebo group) was present. No difference in breast cancer-related mortality was observed (4 deaths in tamoxifen group vs. 5 deaths in placebo group).
Although there was a non-significant reduction in the number of hip fractures (9 on tamoxifen, 20 on placebo) in the tamoxifen group, the number of wrist fractures was similar in the two treatment groups (69 on tamoxifen, 74 on placebo). No information regarding bone mineral density or other markers of osteoporosis is available.
The risks of tamoxifen therapy include endometrial cancer, DVT, PE, stroke, cataract formation and cataract surgery (See Table 3). In the NSABP P-1 trial, 33 cases of endometrial cancer were observed in the tamoxifen group vs. 14 in the placebo group (RR=2.48, 95% CI: 1.27-4.92). Deep vein thrombosis was observed in 30 women receiving tamoxifen vs. 19 in women receiving placebo (RR=1.59, 95% CI: 0.86-2.98). Eighteen cases of pulmonary embolism were observed in the tamoxifen group vs. 6 in the placebo group (RR=3.01, 95% CI: 1.15-9.27). There were 34 strokes on the tamoxifen arm and 24 on the placebo arm (RR=1.42; 95% CI 0.82-2.51). Cataract formation in women without cataracts at baseline was observed in 540 women taking tamoxifen vs. 483 women receiving placebo (RR=1.13, 95% CI: 1.00-1.28). Cataract surgery (with or without cataracts at baseline) was performed in 201 women taking tamoxifen vs. 129 women receiving placebo (RR=1.51, 95% CI 1.21-1.89) (See WARNINGS).
Table 3 summarizes the major outcomes of the NSABP P-1 trial. For each endpoint, the following results are presented: the number of events and rate per 1,000 women per year for the placebo and tamoxifen groups; and the relative risk (RR) and its associated 95% confidence interval (CI) between tamoxifen and placebo. Relative risks less than 1.0 indicate a benefit of tamoxifen therapy. The limits of the confidence intervals can be used to assess the statistical significance of the benefits or risks of tamoxifen therapy. If the upper limit of the CI is less than 1.0, then a statistically significant benefit exists. For most participants, multiple risk factors would have been required for eligibility. This table considers risk factors individually, regardless of other co-existing risk factors, for women who developed breast cancer. The 5-year predicted absolute breast cancer risk accounts for multiple risk factors in an individual and should provide the best estimate of individual benefit (See INDICATIONS).
Table 3 - Major Outcomes of the NSABP-1 Trial
|# of Events||Rate/1000 Women/Year|
|Type of Event||Placebo||Tamoxifen||Placebo||Tamoxifen||RR||95% CI Limits|
|Invasive Breast Cancer||156||86||6.49||3.58||0.56||0.43 - 0.72|
|Age ≤49||59||38||6.34||4.1 1||0.65||0.43 -0.98|
|Age 50-59||46||25||6.31||3.53||0.56||0.35 -0.91|
|Age ≥60||51||23||7.17||3.22||0.45||0.27 -0.74|
|Risk Factors for Breast Cancer History, LCIS|
|Yes1 1H||16||8||12.73||6.33||0.50||0.21 -1.7|
|History, Atypical Hyperplasia|
|No. First Degree Relatives|
|5-Year Predicted Breast Cancer (as calculated by the Gail Model)|
|≤2.00%||31||13||5.36||2.26||0.42||0.22 - 0.81|
|2.01-3.00%||39||28||5.25||3.83||0.73||0.45 - 1.18|
|≥5.00%||50||19||13.15||4.71||0.36||0.21 - 0.61|
|Fractures (protocol-specified sites)||92||761||3.87||3.20||0.61||0.83 - 1.12|
|Hip||20||9||0.84||0.38||0.45||0.18 - 1.04|
|Wrist2||74||69||3.1 1||2.91||0.93||0.67 - 1,29|
|Total Ischemic Events||59||61||2.47||2.57||1.04||0.71 - 1.51|
|Myocardial Infarction||27||27||1.13||1.13||1.00||0.57 - 1.78|
|Fatal||8||7||0.33||0.29||0.88||0.27 - 2.77|
|Nonfatal||19||20||0.79||0.84||1.06||0.54 - 2.09|
|Angina3||12||12||0.50||0.50||1.00||0.41 - 2.44|
|Acute Ischemic Syndrome4||20||22||0.84||0.92||1.11||0.58 - 2.13|
|Uterine Malignancies (among women with an intact uterus)10||17||57|
|Endometrial Adenocarcinoma 10111 17||53||0.71||2.20|
|Stroke5||24||34||1.00||1.43||1.42||0.82 - 2.5 1|
|Transient Ischemic Attack||2 1||18||0.88||0.75||0.86||0.43 - 1.70|
|Pulmonary Emboli6||6||18||0.25||0.75||3.01||1.15- 9.27|
|Deep-Vein Thrombosis7||19||30||0.79||1.26||1.59||0.86- 2.98|
|Cataracts Developing on Study8||483||540||22.51||25.41||1.13||1.00- 1.28|
|Underwent Cataract Surgery8||63||101||2.83||4.57||1.62||1.18- 2.22|
|Underwent Cataract Surgery9||1.29||201||5.44||8.56||1.58||1.26- 1.97|
| 1 Two women had hip and wrist
2 Includes Colles1 and other lower radius fractures
Table 4 describes the characteristics of the breast cancers in the NSABP P-1 trial and includes tumor size, nodal status, ER status. Tamoxifen citrate decreased the incidence of small estrogen receptor positive tumors, but did not alter the incidence of estrogen receptor negative tumors or larger tumors.
Table 4 - Characteristics of Breast Cancer in NSABP P-l Trial
|Staging Parameter|| Placebo
|1-3 positive nodes||29||14||43|
|≤4 positive nodes||10||12||22|
|II: node negative||15||9||24|
|II: node positive||33||22||55|
|1 One participant presented with a suspicious bone scan but did not have documented metastases. She subsequently died of metastatic breast cancer|
Interim results from 2 trials in addition to the NSABP P-1 trial examining the effects of tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer incidence have been reported.
The first was the Italian Tamoxifen Prevention trial. In this trial women between the ages of 35 and 70, who had had a total hysterectomy, were randomized to receive 20 mg tamoxifen or matching placebo for 5 years. The primary endpoints were occurrence of, and death from, invasive breast cancer. Women without any specific risk factors for breast cancer were to be entered. Between 1992 and 1997, 5,408 women were randomized. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was used in 14% of participants. The trial closed in 1997 due to the large number of dropouts during the first year of treatment (26%). After 46 months of follow-up there were 22 breast cancers in women on placebo and 19 in women on tamoxifen. Although no decrease in breast cancer incidence was observed, there was a trend for a reduction in breast cancer among women receiving protocol therapy for at least 1 year (19-placebo, 11- tamoxifen). The small numbers of participants along with the low level of risk in this otherwise healthy group precluded an adequate assessment of the effect of tamoxifen in reducing the incidence of breast cancer.
The second trial, the Royal Marsden Trial (RMT) was reported as an interim analysis. The RMT was begun in 1986 as a feasibility study of whether larger scale trials could be mounted. The trial was subsequently extended to a pilot trial to accrue additional participants to further assess the safety of tamoxifen. Twenty-four hundred and seventy-one women were entered between 1986 and 1996; they were selected on the basis of a family history of breast cancer. HRT was used in 40% of participants. In this trial, with a 70-month median follow-up, 34 and 36 breast cancers (8 noninvasive, 4 on each arm) were observed among women on tamoxifen and placebo, respectively. Patients in this trial were younger than those in the NSABP P-1 trial and may have been more likely to develop ER (-) tumors, which are unlikely to be reduced in number by tamoxifen therapy. Although women were selected on the basis of family history and were thought to have a high risk of breast cancer, few events occurred, reducing the statistical power of the study. These factors are potential reasons why the RMT may not have provided an adequate assessment of the effectiveness of tamoxifen in reducing the incidence of breast cancer.
In these trials, an increased number of cases of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, stroke, and endometrial cancer were observed on the tamoxifen arm compared to the placebo arm. The frequency of events was consistent with the safety data observed in the NSABP P-1 trial.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/24/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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