Women suffering from breast cancer soon may have a wider choice of therapies. Until now, tamoxifen has been the standard treatment for older women with hormone-sensitive tumors. But early results of a new study, reported in Saturday's issue of Lancet, showed that anastrozole is as good, or better, than tamoxifen for post-menopausal women, and has fewer side effects.
Anastrozole is produced by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca under the brand name Arimidex.
Anastrozole works by inhibiting production of the female hormone estrogen in women who have passed menopause. Estrogen is linked to the development of cancer. The trial, involving more than 9,000 women, compared the two drugs alone and in combination. It showed that women taking anastrozole were 60% less likely to develop a tumor in the other breast.