Oestrogen after the menopause

Originally published in November 2003 icon

Another new wonder drug is here. This time the headlines were for Anastrozole, which researchers believe could reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

But don’t hold your breath. Professor Jack Cuzick of Cancer Research UK is only just starting the 10-year trial with 10,000 women who are all healthy but for one reason or another have increased risk (e.g. sister or mother has had breast cancer).

Anastrozole, like Tamoxifen, works by interfering with the action of oestrogen. Whilst Tamoxifen prevents it binding with receptor sites on healthy cells, Anastrozole actually cuts back oestrogen production in post menopausal women.

(Ed. It’s interesting that the rationale behind such products as HRT has always been that post menopause women are short of oestrogen - but then we always knew that wasn’t actually correct, didn’t we?!).

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