Closer to preventing breast cancer

Winthrop Professor Christobel Saunders, from The University of Western Australia’s School of Surgery, is one of the chief investigators in a study which found that the drug anastrozole is effective in preventing breast cancers, with the added benefit that it has few side effects.

More than 3800 postmenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer joined the pioneering International Breast Cancer Intervention Study (IBIS-II).  IBIS-II Principal Investigator Professor Saunders said that the study had the potential to benefit future generations of women.

“The findings from this research may provide a new approach to prevent breast cancer, not only for women today, but also for their daughters and granddaughters in the future,” she said.

In the study, around 1900 women were randomly assigned to receive anastrozole and around the same number were given a placebo.  The women’s average age was 59 and 47 per cent of them had used hormone replacement therapy before the trial.

The researchers found that anastrozole was useful in preventing both invasive and ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancers.

The researchers are from the Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The announcement of their findings will be made today at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in the United States.

Media references

Glenys Dixon (Administration Officer (Research) UWA School of Surgery)   (+61 8)  9346 1305  /  (+61 4) 07 190 636
Winthrop Professor Christobel Saunders (UWA School of Surgery)
David Stacey (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 3229  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716