Health Discoveries in Lung Cancer

Anti-estrogen drug may fight both breast and lung cancer

January 25, 2011
The anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen may play a role in reducing the death rate of women with breast cancer who also develop lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal Cancer.

A team of Swiss researchers, building on previous studies that indicate lung cancer are hormone receptive, as are breast and other gynecological cancers.

The study at the Geneva Cancer Registry reviewed data on 6,655 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Switzerland between 1980 and 2003. Nearly half of them received anti-estrogen therapy. Among those who also developed lung cancer, the anti-estrogen drug produced an 87 percent decrease in the risk of death from their lung cancer.

The researchers noted, however, that only 40 women in the study developed lung cancer so the study sample was not widespread. They wrote that they believe that, with further study, the anti-estrogen drug may have the same beneficial effect in men with lung cancer.

A clinical trial in the North Shore-LIJ Health System is trying to determine if adding the new drug bevacizumab to chemotherapy decreases the chance of a cancer recurrence for patients who have had surgery to remove lung cancer.
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