"Biochemical Markers of Response to Adjuvant Tamoxifen Therapy in Breast Cancer"

Project Summary and Objectives:

The adjuvant treatment of women with early breast cancer with tamoxifen has been shown to extend survival and this had led to its almost universal usage in the 25,000 women/year that present with breast cancer in the UK.

There are, however, many patients who relapse relatively early. It is likely that this is due to the heterogeneity of tumour response to tamoxifen which is demonstrable in advanced disease, where only one-third of patients show an objective response. It is therefore virtually certain that a substantial proportion of patients do not benefit from adjuvant tamoxifen treatment.

The identification of this group by analyses in their primary tumour could allow the avoidance of this treatment for individual patients and lead to substantial savings in pharmaceutical costs (estimated at 3,000,000/year) and the avoidance of any long-term side effects of tamoxifen which are becoming of increasing concern.

The objective is to retrieve excised tumours (paraffin-embedded blocks) from centres participating in the NATO and CRC adjuvant trials which now have extensive follow-up and to conduct immunocytochemical analyses on these blocks to identify those patients who do not benefit from treatment.

Further information can be obtained from:

Professor Mitchell Dowsett
Professor of Biochemical Endocrinology
Head of Diagnostic Services
Department of Academic Biochemistry
The Royal Marsden NHS Trust
Fulham Road
London     SW3 6JJ

0207 352 8171

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Last updated 22 November 2004
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