Benefits of Arimidex(R) over tamoxifen in preventing all forms of breast
cancer recurrence increase over time, and persist - women in the trial
taking Arimidex were 24 per cent less likely to have cancer recur
"Often, a diagnosis of breast cancer recurrence is psychologically more
difficult for a woman than her initial diagnosis. Even after treatment is
finished, these new data show that treatment with Arimidex can
significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence."
Dr. André Robidoux, Professor in Surgery at the University of Montreal,
Scotia Chair in Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment and ATAC 100
Clinical Trial Canadian Investigator
TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - New data from ATAC(*), one of the world's largest
and longest-running studies in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer,
reinforce that Arimidex(R) (anastrozole) can help many more women live
cancer-free, for longer. For the first time, Arimidex has been shown to be the
only treatment of its type that is increasingly better than tamoxifen in
preventing tumours from returning(1,2). Overall, women in the ATAC trial
taking Arimidex were 24 per cent less likely to have their cancer come back,
compared with those taking tamoxifen(1,2). Avoiding disease recurrence is
vital, as recurrence is associated with increased mortality - therefore,
preventing breast cancer from returning ("recurrence") is key to saving lives.
The landmark results, presented today at the prestigious annual San
Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) and also published online in The
Lancet Oncology, also show that even four years after a woman's treatment
ends, Arimidex continues to protect against the risk of hormone-sensitive
early breast cancer returning. This benefit continues to increase over time.
This means that Arimidex is the first aromatase inhibitor (AI) to demonstrate
"carry-over" effect. In other words, the benefits of the drug continue to be
apparent for many years after the period of active treatment ends.
ATAC 100-month results summary:
- In women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer, after a median
follow-up of over eight years (100 months), compared with tamoxifen,
- Reduces the risk of all recurrences by 24 per cent (HR 0.76
- Improves disease-free survival by 15 per cent (HR 0.85
- Reduces the risk of distant metastases (recurrence elsewhere in
the body) by 16 per cent (HR 0.84 (0.72-0.97); p=0.022)
- Reduces the incidence of contralateral breast cancer (cancer in
the opposite breast) by 40 per cent (OR 0.60 (0.42-0.85);
- Prescribing Arimidex from the start means fewer patients have to be
told the devastating news that their breast cancer has recurred(1,2).
Breast cancer currently affects approximately 1.1 million women worldwide
per year(2,3), and hormone-sensitive early disease accounts for around 75 per
cent of all cases of breast cancer in postmenopausal women(5). In Canada, it
is estimated that 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year,
making it the most prevalent cancer among Canadian women(6). The risk of
developing breast cancer increases greatly for postmenopausal women. It is
predicted that 80 per cent of new cases will be in women 50 years of age or
Presenting the data at SABCS, Professor John Forbes, Newcastle Mater
Misericordiae Hospital, Australia, and lead ATAC 100 Clinical Trial
Investigator, commented, "Preventing recurrence is the primary goal in breast
cancer management. If we can stop the cancer from returning, we can save more
lives, more often. These exciting long-term follow-up data show that
anastrozole is a more effective treatment option than tamoxifen for
postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early stage disease - thus it is
imperative these women get the most effective treatment at the earliest
opportunity after diagnosis."
Professor Forbes continued, "Prior to the ATAC trial, tamoxifen was the
standard of care for women with hormone-sensitive disease, with substantial
evidence to support its crucial place in practice. However, these new
100-month data from ATAC show us that compared with tamoxifen, anastrozole can
significantly reduce the risk of recurrence and minimize life-threatening side
effects. Most encouragingly, the data also show us that the protective effect
of anastrozole lasts well beyond the standard treatment period of five years
and in my opinion confirms there is no longer any rationale for prescribing
"The new ATAC 100 data is exciting news for Canadian postmenopausal women
with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer because we now know that the
protective effects of Arimidex last well beyond the standard treatment
period," said Dr. André Robidoux.
Trust and confidence in Arimidex
A recent global survey showed that over 70 per cent of physicians believe
that telling a patient her breast cancer has come back is worse than giving a
diagnosis of early breast cancer(8). It is therefore essential for both
patients and their physicians to know that they are on the best available
therapy to prevent the disease returning. The survey also showed that
convincing, mature data and personal experience are key parameters in
providing trust and confidence in treatment choice. More than 75 per cent of
physicians surveyed would recommend Arimidex for their own family or for
themselves, suggesting that it is a drug physicians can rely on(8). The impact
of treatment on quality of life is also an important consideration in early
breast cancer, and data have shown that the clinical benefits of Arimidex are
achieved without adversely affecting the quality of patients' lives(9).
Live Satellite Coordinates:
17:00 - 18:00 firm, Eastern, Friday December 14, 2007
Anik F2C/7B @ 111.1 West
Vertical Polarization, D/L Freq. 3980 MHz.
Audio subcarriers 6.8 left, 6.2 right
Telesat Confirmation No. 214625- Magnacom
Available at Toronto T.O.C.:
PGAD 17:00 - 18:00 Eastern, Friday December 14, 2007
Magnacom NOVSXS 225340 - 002 (SDI Router Position No. 42)
For more information, please visit www.ATAC100.ca
Notes to Editors:
The study will be published early online (00.01GMT Saturday, December 15,
2007) and in the January edition of The Lancet Oncology.
(*)ATAC = Arimidex, tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination.
Physicians are available for interviews in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and
Vancouver. A patient is available in Montreal.
"More Positive Conversations" global survey
The More Positive Conversations survey was conducted online and via
telephone interviews by Harris Interactive on behalf of AstraZeneca. The
survey involved 1,062 physicians and patients from France, Germany, Italy, the
United Kingdom and the US.
About AstraZeneca Canada
AstraZeneca is a leading global pharmaceutical company with an extensive
product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal,
cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology, and respiratory.
AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters and packaging facilities are located in
Mississauga, Ontario, with a state-of-the-art drug discovery centre based in
Montreal, Quebec. For more information, visit the company's website at
(1) The ATAC Trialist Group - Effect of anastrozole and tamoxifen as
adjuvant treatment for early-stage breast cancer; 100 month analysis of
the ATAC trial. Published online, Lancet Oncology Saturday, December 15,
(2) Forbes J, on behalf on the ATAC Trialist's Group. ATAC: 100 month
median follow-up shows continued superior efficacy and no excess fracture
risk for anastrozole compared with tamoxifen after treatment completion.
Abstract no 41. San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2007.
(3) Parkin DM, Laara E, Muir CS, Estimates of the worldwide frequency of
sixteen major cancers in 1980. Int J Cancer 1988;41(2):184-97.
(4) Cancer Incidence Worldwide, 2002. Cancer Research UK. Available from:
(Last accessed December 4, 2007).
(5) Breastcancer.org. What role to hormones play in breast cancer
treatment. Available from
(Last accessed October 2007)
(6) Canadian Cancer Statistics 2007, April 2007, Canadian Cancer Society.
(7) Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2007. Available
(Last accessed December 4, 2007).
(8) Data on file, "More Positive Conversations" global survey, conducted
by Harris Interactive (US) March-May 2007
(9) Cella et al. Quality of life of postmenopausal women in the ATAC
('Arimidex', Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial after completion
of 5 years' Adjuvant Treatment for early breast cancer. Breast Cancer
Research and Treatment 2006;00(3):273-84.
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