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NICE backs breast cancer drug change

29 November, 2016

NICE backs breast cancer drug change

Women with a family history of breast cancer should be offered anastrozole, not tamoxifen, says NICE in new draft guidance.

New evidence shows that if 1000 women at high risk of breast cancer took anastrozole for five years, 35 cases of breast cancer would be prevented, compared to 21 if they took tamoxifen.

NICE’s new Familial breast cancer guideline recommends anastrozole is offered to women at high risk of breast cancer, unless they have severe osteoporosis. 

It also states that clinicians should consider offering it to women at moderate risk of breast cancer.

Professor Mark Baker, NICE director of the centre for guidelines, said: ‘Our draft guideline update recommends the use of anastrozole as a first line treatment for postmenopausal women at high or medium risk of breast cancer who don't have osteoporosis.

‘The evidence examined by the committee suggests anastrozole will not only reduce the number of breast cancer cases in these women compared to tamoxifen, but it is also a more cost effective option.’

The draft guideline also recommends genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRAC2 mutations in women under 50 with triple negative breast cancer.

It adds that, testing should only be offered if the woman does not have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

The draft guideline is out for consultation until 29 December. Click here for more details.

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