Longer tamoxifen treatment cuts breast cancer deaths

The Adjuvant Tamoxifen: Longer Against Shorter (ATLAS) trial, partly funded by AstraZeneca, found in the second decade after diagnosis women who continued on tamoxifen had a 25% lower recurrence rate and a 29% lower mortality rate than women who stopped treatment after five years.

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Trevor Powles, of the Cancer Centre London, said if results were reinforced by other research yet to be published “this should herald a change of practice with the standard of care revised to 10 years rather than five years of treatment in patients for whom tamoxifen is indicated”.

The trial of 12,894 women with early breast cancer who had completed five years of treatment with tamoxifen included 784 Australians.

After excluding women who did not have oestrogen receptor-positive disease, 6847 women were randomly allocated to continue tamoxifen to 10 years or stop at five years.

The risk of recurrence by year 15