- Question from Kandi: Because I am in a clinical trial, I have started Arimidex while still receiving radiation therapy. I understand there might be some controversy about the synergy of the two treatments. Would you comment on that?
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
There is a concern that taking hormonal therapy during radiation might make any cancer cells—if they were there—become less vulnerable to the effect of radiation. This is a theoretical concern. Whether or not it's OK to give a hormonal therapy during radiation has not been studied in a clinical trial.
Recently, two centers looked at whether it's OK to give tamoxifen during radiation or if it's best to push it off until after radiation is done. One study showed it's OK to give it together; the other study showed that radiation MIGHT not work as well if given together. Still, we're left without a clear answer.
Be reassured that large clinical trials such as the NSABP (National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project) studies did use tamoxifen together with radiation, and that radiation worked very well in those studies. So I'd stick to your protocol and expect the best.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Hormonal Therapy Updates featured Sandra Schnall, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about hormonal therapies and answered questions about which ones work best in different situations, how they might fit into your treatment sequence, how to deal with side effects, and more.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2004.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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