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Concept: Tamoxifen




Tamoxifen (TAM) has been widely used for the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer and its combination with other therapies is being actively investigated as a way to increase efficacy and decrease side effects. Here, we evaluate the therapeutic potential of co-treatment with TAM and BreastDefend (BD), a dietary supplement formula, in ER-positive human breast cancer.

Concepts: Breast cancer, Estrogen, Chemotherapy, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen


Breastfeeding is inversely associated with overall risk of breast cancer. This association may differ in breast cancer subtypes defined by receptor status, as they may reflect different mechanisms of carcinogenesis. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control and prospective cohort studies to investigate the association between breastfeeding and breast cancer by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Breast cancer, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Epidermal growth factor, Growth factor, Estrogen, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen


BACKGROUND: Tamoxifen and raloxifene reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at elevated risk of disease, but the duration of the effect is unknown. We assessed the effectiveness of selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) on breast cancer incidence. METHODS: We did a meta-analysis with individual participant data from nine prevention trials comparing four selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs; tamoxifen, raloxifene, arzoxifene, and lasofoxifene) with placebo, or in one study with tamoxifen. Our primary endpoint was incidence of all breast cancer (including ductal carcinoma in situ) during a 10 year follow-up period. Analysis was by intention to treat. RESULTS: We analysed data for 83 399 women with 306 617 women-years of follow-up. Median follow-up was 65 months (IQR 54-93). Overall, we noted a 38% reduction (hazard ratio [HR] 0·62, 95% CI 0·56-0·69) in breast cancer incidence, and 42 women would need to be treated to prevent one breast cancer event in the first 10 years of follow-up. The reduction was larger in the first 5 years of follow-up than in years 5-10 (42%, HR 0·58, 0·51-0·66; p<0·0001 vs 25%, 0·75, 0·61-0·93; p=0·007), but we noted no heterogeneity between time periods. Thromboembolic events were significantly increased with all SERMs (odds ratio 1·73, 95% CI 1·47-2·05; p<0·0001). We recorded a significant reduction of 34% in vertebral fractures (0·66, 0·59-0·73), but only a small effect for non-vertebral fractures (0·93, 0·87-0·99). INTERPRETATION: For all SERMs, incidence of invasive oestrogen (ER)-positive breast cancer was reduced both during treatment and for at least 5 years after completion. Similar to other preventive interventions, careful consideration of risks and benefits is needed to identify women who are most likely to benefit from these drugs. FUNDING: Cancer Research UK.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Breast cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Estrogen, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen, Selective estrogen receptor modulator


Tumor evolution is shaped by many variables, potentially involving external selective pressures induced by therapies. After surgery, patients with estrogen receptor (ERα)-positive breast cancer are treated with adjuvant endocrine therapy, including selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and/or aromatase inhibitors (AIs). However, more than 20% of patients relapse within 10 years and eventually progress to incurable metastatic disease. Here we demonstrate that the choice of therapy has a fundamental influence on the genetic landscape of relapsed diseases. We found that 21.5% of AI-treated, relapsed patients had acquired CYP19A1 (encoding aromatase) amplification (CYP19A1(amp)). Relapsed patients also developed numerous mutations targeting key breast cancer-associated genes, including ESR1 and CYP19A1. Notably, CYP19A1(amp) cells also emerged in vitro, but only in AI-resistant models. CYP19A1 amplification caused increased aromatase activity and estrogen-independent ERα binding to target genes, resulting in CYP19A1(amp) cells showing decreased sensitivity to AI treatment. These data suggest that AI treatment itself selects for acquired CYP19A1(amp) and promotes local autocrine estrogen signaling in AI-resistant metastatic patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Estrogen, Chemotherapy, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen, Aromatase, Aromatase inhibitor


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an important cause of death in older patients with breast cancer. However, limited information exists on the long-term effect of aromatase inhibitor (AI) use on CVD risk in breast cancer survivors. To this point, no other population-based studies have been able to adjust for CVD risk factors or cardiovascular medications.

Concepts: Cancer, Disease, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Estrogen, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen, Aromatase inhibitor



Hereditary, hormonal, and behavioral factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is a modifiable behavior that is linked to increased breast cancer risks and is associated with the development of hormone-dependent breast cancers as well as disease progression and recurrence following endocrine treatment. In this study we examined the molecular mechanisms of action of alcohol by applying molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches in characterizing its effects on estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells. Treatments with alcohol promoted cell proliferation, increased growth factor signaling, and up-regulated the transcription of the ER target gene GREB1 but not the canonical target TFF1/pS2. Microarray analysis following alcohol treatment identified a large number of alcohol-responsive genes, including those which function in apoptotic and cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, expression profiles of the responsive gene sets in tumors were strongly associated with clinical outcomes in patients who received endocrine therapy. Correspondingly, alcohol treatment attenuated the anti-proliferative effects of the endocrine therapeutic drug tamoxifen in ER-positive breast cancer cells. To determine the contribution and functions of responsive genes, their differential expression in tumors were assessed between outcome groups. The proto-oncogene BRAF was identified as a novel alcohol- and estrogen-induced gene that showed higher expression in patients with poor outcomes. Knock-down of BRAF, moreover, prevented the proliferation of breast cancer cells. These findings not only highlight the mechanistic basis of the effects of alcohol on breast cancer cells and increased risks for disease incidents and recurrence, but may facilitate the discovery and characterization of novel oncogenic pathways and markers in breast cancer research and therapeutics.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cancer, Breast cancer, Estrogen receptor, Tamoxifen


PURPOSE Some postmenopausal patients with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer remain at high risk of relapse despite endocrine therapy and, in addition, might benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. The challenge is to prospectively identify such patients. The Mammostrat test uses five immunohistochemical markers to stratify patients regarding recurrence risk and may inform treatment decisions. We tested the efficacy of this panel in the Tamoxifen versus Exemestane Adjuvant Multicenter (TEAM) trial. PATIENTS AND METHODS Pathology blocks from 4,598 TEAM patients were collected, and tissue microarrays (TMAs) were constructed. The cohort was 47% node-positive, and 36% of patients in the cohort were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Triplicate 0.6-mm(2) TMA cores were stained, and positivity for p53, HTF9C, CEACAM5, NDRG1, and SLC7A5 was assessed. Cases were assigned a Mammostrat risk score, and distant relapse-free survival (DRFS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were analyzed. Results In multivariate regression analyses, which were corrected for conventional clinicopathologic markers, Mammostrat provided significant additional information on DRFS after endocrine therapy in estrogen receptor (ER) -positive node-negative patients (n = 1,226) who did not receive chemotherapy (P = .004). Additional analyses in all patients not exposed to chemotherapy, irrespective of nodal status (n = 2,559) and in the entire cohort (n = 3,837) showed Mammostrat scores provided additional information on DRFS in these groups (P = .001 and P < .001, respectively; multivariate analyses). No differences were seen between the two endocrine treatment regimens. CONCLUSION The Mammostrat score predicts DRFS for patients treated with exemestane and patients treated with tamoxifen followed by exemestane irrespective of nodal status and chemotherapy. The ability of this test to provide additional outcome data after treatment provides additional evidence of its use in risk stratification of ER-positive postmenopausal patients with breast cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Cure, Estrogen, Chemotherapy, Estrogen receptor, Chemotherapy regimens, Tamoxifen