Updated on 21 August 2013
The study revealed that women with the BRCA1 mutation were 62 percent less likely to develop a second cancer if they took tamoxifen, while BRCA2 carriers had a 67 percent lower risk with the drug
Singapore: A latest research has shown that taking the drug tamoxifen is found to sharply reduce the risk of getting a second breast cancer among those women who carry either of the breast cancer genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2.
The study conducted by researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia concluded that taking tamoxifen may be a breast-cancer-preventing option for those women, whether or not they have already had cancer once.
A recent revelation by Hollywood starlet Angelina Jolie had brought to light that women with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are much more likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer than other women. It had also brought to light the various forms of preventive healthcare options for women found with these genes and these researchers now say that taking tamoxifen is one such option.
"In light of our finding, women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation should review their cancer risk management options with their specialist clinician," the study's lead author Dr Kelly-Anne Phillips said.
The study explained that many breast cancer patients develop tumours that grow and spread when exposed to estrogen. Women with these hormone-responsive cancers are typically prescribed tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen and reduces their risk of cancer recurrence by 40 percent. However, breast cancer patients who are found with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations are not typically offered tamoxifen treatment.