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Breast Cancer Risk Cut in Half with Evista - STAR Study Indicates Protection Offered By Raloxifene HCL - No Reduction in Heart Death

April 18th 2006

Breast Cancer Risk Cut in Half with Evista - STAR Study Indicates Protection Offered By Raloxifene HCL - No Reduction in Heart Death


Researchers have determined that Evista (raloxifene HCL) can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by about half.  The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) found that Evista, an osteoporosis drug, works as well as the older drug used to treat cancer, tamoxifen, in reducing the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women, but with fewer dangerous side effects.

Evista is marketed by Eli Lilly for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.  The new breast cancer protection findings were announced by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).  Steven Paul, M.D., executive vice president of science and technology, Lilly said “NSABP's STAR study represents an important milestone in cancer research."

Eli Lilly and company, the maker of the drug, announced they will likely petition the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the drug to be prescribed for patients at high risk of developing breast cancer.  Currently, raloxifene is not approved by the FDA for preventing or reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or invasive breast cancer.


Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, behind lung cancer.  There are more than 200,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer and roughly 40,000 die from it each year.  Globally, 1.2 million women and a few men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually.

Typically, one in nine women may be diagnosed with breast cancer here in the US.  But other risk factors will increase the danger of developing the disease, including having a mother or sister with it, never having had a child, or having had a number of suspicious-looking breast lumps.  These women will likely benefit from this discovery.

Eli Lilly was hoping their drug would also reduce the risk of heart disease death as well.  The results appear to show no effect.  According to Alan Breier MD, vice president and chief medical officer, Lilly, "Because Evista did not prevent coronary events, we want to reinforce for physicians that Evista should not be prescribed for cardioprotection Physicians should be aware that the modest reduction of LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol, previously seen in Evista's clinical trials and currently reflected in the label, did not translate into cardio-protection in the RUTH study,”


There are some cautions.  According to the company, if you are or still can become pregnant, are nursing, have severe liver problems, or have had blood clots that required a doctor's treatment, you cannot take EVISTA. An infrequent but serious side effect of EVISTA is blood clots in the veins -- being immobile for a long time may add to the risk. 

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:51 PM