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Drug boosts breast cancer survival

Drug boosts breast cancer survival

Researchers from the University of Oxford have found that breast cancer patients who take the drug tamoxifen are more likely to survive for at least a decade.

The study, published online in The Lancet medical journal, involved analysing trial data of over 20,000 breast cancer patients, who had their long-term progress monitored.

Researchers found that women treated with an early course of tamoxifen were a third less likely to die of breast cancer over a 15-year period. The drug was also found to "substantially reduce" mortality rate well beyond a decade.

The study also showed that tamoxifen reduced the likelihood of the cancer recurring.

Tamoxifen treats hormone sensitive (ER-positive) cancers by attaching itself to molecular receptors on the tumour to prevent oestrogen stimulating growth.

Dr Christina Davies, who took part in the study, said: "This study now shows that tamoxifen produces really long-term protection. For ER-positive disease, tamoxifen reduces 15-year breast cancer mortality by at least a third, whether or not chemotherapy has been given."

Copyright Press Association 2011

The Lancet

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