- Paper Report
- Open Access
Duration of adjuvant tamoxifen treatment
- Fatima Cardoso1
© Biomed Central Ltd 2001
- Received: 17 May 2001
- Accepted: 20 August 2001
- Published: 1 December 2001
- Adjuvant tamoxifen, breast cancer, duration
The benefits of adjuvant tamoxifen are indisputable; however, its optimal duration is an issue still under discussion. The Oxford Overview analysis, based on 35,000 patients, concludes that five-year treatment is clearly superior to 0-2 years of treatment. Whether a longer period of therapy, namely 10 years, can yield better results is still unknown as the number of patients enrolled in clinical trials (8000) and the median follow-up are still insufficient. Furthermore, the benefits must always be balanced with its potential hazards, namely the increased risk of endometrial cancer that could be related to the duration of therapy. This study investigated the effects of drug treatment after relapse or surgical/radiological treatment.
Two major conclusions were drawn. First, the beneficial effects of five years of adjuvant tamoxifen are maintained through at least 15 years, in terms of overall survival (P = 0.006), death from breast cancer (P = 0.002), and systemic relapse (P = 0.007). Second, no additional benefit, in survival or freedom from recurrence, was observed in those patients who were randomly assigned to take tamoxifen more than five years.
Kaplan-Meir (survival curves), two-tailed log-rank test (statistic significance), Cox proportional hazard models (95% confidence intervals)
Fisher B, Dignam J, Bryant J, DeCillis A, Wickerham DL, Wolmark N, Costantino J, Redmond C, Fisher ER, Bowman DM, Deschenes L, Dimitrov NV, Margolese RG, Robidoux A, Shibata H, Terz J, Paterson AH, Feldman MI, Farrar W, Evans J, Lickley HL: Five versus more than five years of tamoxifen therapy for breast cancer patients with negative lymph nodes and estrogen receptor-positive tumors. J Natl Cancer Inst 1996, 88:1529-1542 (PubMed abstract).