|Dr. Elly Cohen, BCT Director|
From the Director:
When my mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 1978, her doctor told her about tamoxifen, a drug that had been recently approved for women with estrogen sensitive tumors. Unfortunately, her tumor was ER-negative and, despite chemotherapy, she died less than a year later. Twenty years later, when I was diagnosed with stage 1, ER-positive breast cancer, tamoxifen was being used for early-stage patients too. That's because in 1986 a clinical trial showed that tamoxifen lowered the risk of recurrence in patients like me. The studies also had showed that five years of tamoxifen provided the most benefit.
So, I was surprised and confused when a large study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium found that it was better for women to take 10 years of tamoxifen than five. How could the findings from the ATLAS study be so different from the evidence upon which my treatment was based?
That's why we decided to focus this issue of our newsletter on the ATLAS trial.