Is low dose Tamoxifen the way forward in breast cancer?

Is low dose Tamoxifen the way forward in breast cancer?

A much lower dose of Tamoxifen than is normally used in women with Er+ve breast cancer has been shown to be effective by researchers in Italy.

The correct dosage of Tamoxifen has never been researched nor actually scientifically established according to researchers presenting their study findings at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2018 (1).

Researchers including Dr. Andrea De Censi, Director of Medical Oncology at the National Hospital in Gerona, took just 5 mg, instead of the normal 20 mg dose and compared its effects to women taking a placebo.

500 participants, all with early stage cancers such as DCIS or breast cancer lesions, all of whom had had surgery, were divided into two equal groups, one taking the Tamoxifen, the other a placebo. The conclusions were that the low dose tamoxifen was effective in preventing recurrence and low risk cancer becoming more dangerous, but without many significant side-effects.

Tamoxifen works by binding to and blocking oestrogen receptor sites on cells. De Censi said he wanted to do the research because no minimum effective dose had ever been established and that, logically, above a certain dose, no further benefits would occur but side-effects could worsen.

Across a 5-year period 11% of women on the placebo developed a new cancer or had recurrence, but this was halved to 5.5% with low dose tamoxifen. The use of low dose tamoxifen came with ‘fewer troubling side-effects’ such as blood clots according to De Censi.

Interestingly 35% of the women in the tamoxifen group and 39% in the placebo group stopped taking the pills before the end of the trial. Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, “I’m not sure whether this research actually answers the question of whether low dose is as good as a dose 4 times stronger. However it does show that women could have a choice because normally oncology units like the Royal Marsden talk about the same level of benefit – between 1 and 9%  - with normal dose Tamoxifen.

We have previously covered research that shows total Vitamin E and Melatonin each make Tamoxifen more effective and a lowered dose can be used. And we have covered research showing curcumin and EMFs may each reduce the effectiveness. Clearly here is a drug in major use about which some serious research studies are needed. The scientific debate being opened here needs answering properly.”


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