What is the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene Breast Cancer Prevention Trial?

Question:What is the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) breast cancer prevention trial?

Answer: The study of tamoxifen and raloxifene, or "STAR," is a breast cancer prevention study. It involved close to 20,000 post menopausal women, all at increased risk for future the development of breast cancer. Their risk was based on family history of this disease or other risk factors. Half of the women were assigned to receive tamoxifen, a drug that had been shown previously to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The other half received raloxifene -- the commercial name is Evista -- it's already approved in this country for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.

The results of the STAR trial showed that tamoxifen and raloxifene were both equally effective in preventing life-threatening breast cancer, but raloxifene was able to do this with far fewer side effects. This is good news for post-menopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer. They now have a new option to prevent this disease, one that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this indication. The history of medicine teaches us that often the greatest breakthroughs are through prevention of disease, not through treatment, and the results of the star trial are an important step in making breast cancer a truly preventable disease.

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