Antihormone therapy may protect breast cancer patients from lung cancer

Anti-estrogens reduce the risk of lung cancer in breast cancer patients, according to study results presented at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

To explore whether breast cancer patients treated with anti-estrogen therapy experience a reduced risk of lung cancer mortality, Elisabetta Rapiti, MD, MPH, medical researcher with the Geneva Cancer Registry, University of Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues studies 6,715 breast cancer patients, 46% of whom received anti-estrogen therapy, primarily tamoxifen.

“We found a reduction in lung cancer mortality among women treated with anti-estrogens for breast cancer. This works builds on previous studies that had suggested estrogens have a role in lung cancer development and progression,” said Dr Rapiti.

The results revealed that 40 patients developed lung cancer. Although there was no difference in the incidence of lung cancer among women with or without anti-estrogens compared with the general population, the risk of dying from lung cancer was significantly lower among those who received anti-estrogen therapy.

“Our results are particularly relevant to the research agenda exploring endocrine treatment(s) for lung cancer,” said Dr Rapiti. “If prospective studies confirm our results and find that anti-estrogen agents improve lung cancer outcomes, this could have substantial implications for clinical practice.”

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