Adding Chemotherapy to Tamoxifen Helps Some Breast Cancer Patients
According to recent study, if postmenopausal women are given tamoxifen along with chemotherapy, it will increase their chances of survival from the estrogen receptor-positive cancer, a type of breast cancer. However, the study stresses that the tamoxifen should be started before the chemotherapy starts.
Estrogen receptor-positive cancer is the most common type of breast cancer that occurs in postmenopausal women. According to the lead researcher from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, the chemotherapy should be done with Adriamycin. However, in another study, the same researcher also found that if breast cancer was screened using the multi-gene tests, then the postmenopausal women might not need this type of chemotherapy even though they where in the standard profile.
In the estrogen receptor-positive type of cancer, the tumor cells carry receptors, and the estrogen attaches to the receptors. This, in turn, promotes the growth of the tumor. However, if Tamoxifen is used, the receptors are blocked.
For years now, health experts have been debating whether women who have estrogen receptor-positive cancer would be more benefited if they received chemotherapy along with the use of Tamoxifen.
The researchers studied 1,500 breast cancer patients for 13 years who had estrogen receptor-positive cancer where the cancer had spread to at least one lymph node in the armpit. It was found that the survival rate increased by 24 percent in women who received chemotherapy along with Tamoxifen. Also, researchers found that giving chemotherapy followed by Tamoxifen was a better regimen than starting both simultaneously.
In another study, the same researchers used a gene test to figure out which women needed chemotherapy. Through the test, it was found that some women did not need chemotherapy even if the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit region.