Postmenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer could benefit from medicines to reduce their risk of development, new NICE guidelines have explained.
In new evidence, it was demonstrated if 1,000 women at high risk of breast cancer took anastrozole for five years, 35 cases of the disease developing would be prevented. Previously-favoured use of tamoxifen only prevented cancer in 21 cases.
NICE is now recommending anastrozole is offered for five years to postmenopausal women at high or moderate risk of breast cancer unless they have severe osteoporosis.
Director of NICE centre for guidelines Professor Mark Baker said: ‘The evidence examined by the committee suggests anastrozole will not only reduce the number of breast cancer cases in postmenopausal women compared to tamoxifen, but it is also a more cost effective option. This is good news for women and for NHS budgets.’
The current list price of an anastrozole is £1.19 for 28 tablets.
Women at high risk who have not been through the menopause should still be offered tamoxifen, the new guidance clarified.
The recommendations appear in the update of the familial breast cancer guideline.