a study involving Leeds women has found a drug used to treat breast cancer could halve the chances of developing the disease.
Experts are now calling for anastrozole to be used as a preventative treatment, after the trial found taking the drug for five years reduced the risk of post-menopausal women especially prone to breast cancer from being struck by the illness by 53 per cent.
The research, funded by Cancer Research UK, involved almost 4,000 women across the UK. That included 159 patients at four Yorkshire hospitals, one of which was St James’s in Leeds.
Results from the five-year trial showed 40 women in the anastrozole group developed breast cancer compared to 85 women who were taking a placebo.
Researchers said the findings could lead to a new option for preventing breast cancer as the medicine was more effective than tamoxifen, another drug given as a preventative measure, and had fewer side effects.
Professor Jack Cuzick, lead researcher and head of Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Cancer Prevention, said: “This research is an exciting development in breast cancer prevention.
“Our priority now is ensuring that as many women as possible can benefit from these new findings. Prevention is an important tool in the fight against breast cancer and we strongly urge the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to consider adding anastrozole to their recommended drugs for women who are predisposed to developing breast cancer.
“By including this drug in their clinical guidelines, more women will benefit from this important advancement in preventive medicine.”