Skin gel helps fight against breast cancer

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A recent study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, explored whether application of a gel containing the drug tamoxifen would be beneficial to breast cancer patients, and if gel therapy might be preferable to traditional (oral) tamoxifen administration.

Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, led by oncologist Seema Khan, applied a tamoxifen gel to the breasts of women diagnosed with estrogen-sensitive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). After six to 10 weeks of gel application, the results were reviewed. A marker for cancer cell growth was reduced, similar to the traditional effect of administering pill-based tamoxifen to patients. The researchers deemed the gel an effective means of delivering tamoxifen. In addition, they reported that the side effects from the tamoxifen gel were less than that from pill-based tamoxifen; because the medicated gel is applied directly to breast tissue, circulation through the bloodstream is minimized. Typical side effects caused by tamoxifen can include hot flashes, vaginal dryness or discharge, and more serious side effects such as increased risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus), and ovarian cysts. Because the decreased amount of tamoxifen in the bloodstream, the study authors feel that the risk of blood clots and endometrial cancer such be lower when the gel is employed.

Skin gel helps fight against breast cancer
Skin gel helps fight against breast cancer

A gel containing the drug tamoxifen and applied to the skin was as effective in reducing the growth of breast cancer cells in women with noninvasive cancer as the pill form of the medication — and it caused fewer side effects, according to a new study.

The paper, published Tuesday in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, said that the gel was applied to the breasts of women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS. All the women had DCIS that was sensitive to estrogen.

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