Newer breast cancer drugs more effective that standard NHS treatment

London: Studies of female patients in Europe show that new treatments are more effective in fighting breast cancer than the UK’s National Health Service standard drug.

In a report published in the Lancet Oncology medical journal the study demonstrated that taking Arimidex, rather than tamoxifen – which has been used for nearly 30 years – reduces the risk of dying by almost a third and halves the risk of the cancer returning.

Next week the Government is due to approve the use of the three aromatase inhibitors – Arimidex, Femara and Aromasin – alongside the ‘gold standard’ drug tamoxifen. Currently, tamoxifen is prescribed for five years after surgery to cut the risk of the cancer recurring.

The results of the study compared the outcomes for 4,000 postmenopausal breast cancer patients who either remained on tamoxifen for the full five years or switched to Arimidex after two to three.

The results showed fewer disease recurrences and fewer deaths in women who switched to the newer drug.

The study was led by Professor Walter Jonat, from the University of Kiel, Germany, who said: “A lot of people have been waiting to see whether aromatase inhibitors will show a survival advantage, and I think these data will assure them that five years of tamoxifen is no longer the standard of care.”