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Higher BMI Linked to More Breast Cancer Recurrences

Anastrazole may have an edge over tamoxifen in lower-weight women versus overweight women


TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese breast cancer patients are more likely to suffer recurrences than their thinner peers, who may benefit more from anastrozole, according to research published online June 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ivana Sestak, Ph.D., of the University of London, and colleagues analyzed data from a trial in which postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer were randomized to daily treatment with 1 mg anastrozole, 20 mg tamoxifen, or a combination of the two to determine an association between body mass index (BMI) and recurrence, and how the relative benefit of the two drugs correlates with BMI.

With a median follow-up of 100 months, the researchers found more recurrences, and significantly more distant recurrences, in women with a BMI over 35 kg/m² than in those whose BMI was under 23 kg/m². Anastrozole had a better, though not significantly better, relative benefit than tamoxifen in thin women compared with overweight women.

"These results confirm the poorer prognosis of obese women with early-stage breast cancer. Recurrence rates were lower for anastrozole than tamoxifen for all BMI quintiles. Our results suggest that the relative efficacy of anastrozole compared to tamoxifen is greater in thin postmenopausal women and higher doses or more complete inhibitors might be more effective in overweight women, but this requires independent confirmation," the authors write.

Several authors reported financial relationships with AstraZeneca or Novartis.

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