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Breast. 2007 Apr;16(2):204-10. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Pilot study of the impact of letrozole vs. placebo on breast density in women completing 5 years of tamoxifen.

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Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.


Breast density, a strong risk factor for breast cancer, is reduced by the anti-estrogen, tamoxifen (TAM). We examined whether aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy results in further reductions in breast density among women completing 5 years of TAM. Among a sample of women with early-onset breast cancer who were randomized to letrozole (LET)(n=56) or placebo (PLAC)(n=48) after 5 years of TAM, we examine the change in percent density at 9-15 months as well as a per-year change in PD by treatment group. There was no difference in the adjusted mean change (-1.0%, LET; -0.3%, PLAC (P=0.58)) or the percentage change (-2.7%, LET; -3.0%, PLAC (P=0.96)) in PD between treatment groups at 9-15 months. Results were similar for longitudinal change (-0.68% per year, LET; -0.12% per year, PLAC (P=0.23)). Breast density does not appear to be a clinically relevant biomarker in women who already have low PD following 5 years of TAM.

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