Repurposed drug halves breast cancer risk

Repurposed drug halves breast cancer risk

They used their work on anastrozole as an exemplar for the programme, and it’s the first drug to emerge from it with a new license. The concept of this work is a fascinating one, and it’s feels like an ethical, responsible approach to the stewardship of the medicines we use. 1 in 7 women in the UK will develop breast cancer, with almost 56,000 cases diagnosed every year.

  • The press release from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is available on the Government website.
  • NICE has recommended the off-license use of anastrazole for breast cancer prevention in high risk, post-menopausal patients since as far back as 2017 familial breast cancer guideline CG164, but uptake has been low.
  • Arimidex has not been investigated in breast cancer patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment.
  • Trials have shown that the drug reduces breast cancer cases by 49 per cent over 11 years among eligible women.
  • Women will be classed as moderate risk if they have one close relative, such as a mother, sister or daughter, who has breast cancer.

It’s the first medicine the MHRA has relicensed as part of NHS England’s Medicines Repurposing Programme. It does this by blocking a substance in the body called aromatase. Anastrazole belongs to a type of hormone therapy called aromatase inhibitors. Lowering the level of oestrogen aims to prevent, stop or slow the growth of these cancers. The results of a trialled by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and funded by Cancer Research UK and supported by a number of our sites indicated that the risk of breast cancer developing could be halved. Further research suggests that just one in four eligible women taking anastrozole should prevent around 2,000 cases of breast cancer.

Medicine safety

“We’ve already seen the positive effect can have in treating the disease when it has been detected in post-menopausal women and now we can use it to stop it developing at all in some women,” he added. Health Minister Will Quince said he was “delighted” the drug had now been approved to “help prevent this cruel disease”. Women with BRCA mutations are also more likely to develop breast cancer at a younger age. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England, with more than 47,000 people diagnosed each year.

To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today. Don’t worry we won’t send you spam or share your email address with anyone. Anastrozole was first recommended for preventative use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2017. In boys with pubertal gynaecomastia (10-17 years), anastrozole was rapidly absorbed, was widely distributed, and was eliminated slowly with a half-life of approximately 2 days. Clearance of anastrozole was lower in girls (3-10 years) than in the older boys and exposure higher. Anastrozole in girls was widely distributed and slowly eliminated.

Arimidex 1mg Film-Coated Tablet

Anastrozole is eliminated slowly with a plasma elimination half-life of 40 to 50 hours. Anastrozole is extensively metabolised by postmenopausal women with less than 10% of the dose excreted in the urine unchanged within 72 hours of dosing. Metabolism of anastrozole occurs by N-dealkylation, hydroxylation and glucuronidation. Triazole, the major metabolite in plasma, does not inhibit aromatase.

“This is the first drug to be repurposed through a world-leading new programme to help us realise the full potential of existing medicines in new uses to save and improve more lives on the NHS. You can quickly add CPD to your account by writing a reflective note about the Behind the headlines – Anastrozole for breast cancer prevention post you’ve read. The most common side effects of the medicine are hot flashes, feeling weak, pain/stiffness in the joints, arthritis, skin rash, nausea, headache, osteoporosis, and depression. But if 25% of eligible women do, it could prevent 2,000 cases of cancer. A two-year mouse oncogenicity study resulted in the induction of benign ovarian tumours and a disturbance in the incidence of lymphoreticular neoplasms (fewer histiocytic sarcomas in females and more deaths as a result of lymphomas).

Delivery options

Do not throw away any medicines via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to throw away medicines you no longer use. Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer in women who have gone through menopause. NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard says she hopes that licensing anastrozole “represents the first step to ensuring the risk-reducing option can be accessed by all who could benefit from it”.

The recommended length of time that anastrozole is taken for will depend on your individual situation. If you know you are lactose intolerant discuss this with your treatment team or pharmacist. Anastrozole is taken as a tablet once a day, with or without food. If you’re having chemotherapy or radiotherapy, your specialist will tell you when it’s best to start anastrozole. It is not knownwhether this drug comes through into the breast milk. Doctors usually advise that you don’t breastfeed during this treatment.

MHRA authorises anastrozole to prevent breast cancer in post-menopausal women

“People have been particularly concerned about blood clots and also in some cases the development of endometrial cancer [when taking tamoxifen]. Anastrozole doesn’t seem to do that so it’s a more attractive idea,” he said. Charities said it was “a major step forward” for women with a significant family history of the cancer. However, these side effects usually improve within the first few months of taking anastrozole. Women are considered as high risk if two close relatives or one close relation and a second more distant relative — such as a grandmother or aunt — have breast cancer. Macmillan say there are a range of side effects and the drug should not usually be used by women who are still having periods. Calculated molecular properties are available for small molecules and natural products (not peptides).

Medicine details

Post-menopausal women who have higher concentrations of the hormone oestrogen in their blood stream are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors stop the production of oestrogen and reduce the amount made in the body. They are currently the most effective preventive agent for oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.

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