Clinical trials for premenopausal women?


Question from Perl: There are many clinical trials involving postmenopausal women with breast cancer, but we don't often read about clinical trial results for premenopausal women who have breast cancer. What trials are being done for us?
Answers - Lynn Schuchter I think I would slightly rephrase your question, Perl. What you have heard a lot about is specific hormonal therapy trials with aromatase inhibitors, which have targeted women who are postmenopausal. We have had the result of several clinical trials in the last several years which have used aromatase inhibitors, medications like Arimidex and Femara, which are only used for women with postmenopausal breast cancer. However, all of the other clinical trials that utilize chemotherapy and utilize Herceptin are done in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. So there are clinical trials available for premenopausal women focusing on chemotherapy and Herceptin and those studies are for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. There is a trial available for premenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer (estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors) and these trials are looking at the optimal way to utilize hormonal agents such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors with ovarian suppression. These clinical trials look very promising, as we are attempting to use some of the newer agents in premenopausal patients. These clinical trials are available nationally; they may be available to you locally at your institution. They are asking important questions about the optimal hormonal treatment for premenopausal patients. We traditionally have used tamoxifen for hormone-receptor-positive cancers and we are looking to see if some of the newer strategies may be useful for this group of patients. It is so important for women to consider a clinical trial, as all the advances that we have made in breast cancer treatment are the result of brave women participating in clinical trials. This is the only way the field can move forward and we can improve survival rates for all women with breast cancer.

On Wednesday, April 19, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Young Women and Breast Cancer. Lynn Schuchter, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answered your questions about the special concerns of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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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