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New Study Highlights Cancer Risk Linked to Tamoxifen

Filed July 5th, 2013 Joshua Sophy

New research is revealing why the breast cancer drug tamoxifen may actually increase a woman’s chance of developing another type of cancer over other drugs used to treat breast cancer.

According to a report from on a study from the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, tamoxifen is responsible for promoting the growth of cells that can cause uterine cancer even if it has proven to be an effective treatment in the prevention of breast cancer. The study shows that tamoxifen blocks the flow of estrogen to the breast which, in turn, attempts to block cancer development. However, “secondary molecules are ‘recruited’ to a site on the cell when tamoxifen binds to it,” according to the report. This promotes cancer cell growth in the uterus. These molecules actually promote cancer cell growth.

This side effect was not noticed in a comparison study of another breast cancer drug, raloxifene. The study, it was noted in the report, should help drug developers create new cancer drugs that do not promote other cancer cell growth despite preventing one type of cancer. Tamoxifen is in a class of drugs known as Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs).

Based on our previous reporting, uterine cancer is not the only drawback to taking tamoxifen. Women who’ve taken tamoxifen in the past in the hope of treating or preventing breast cancer have suffered serious side effects such as stroke, blood clots in their lungs, and endometrial cancer.

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