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.

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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.”