* Women switching drug have better outcome for next 6 years
* 18 pct more likely disease-free, 14 pct less likely to die
(Adds details, background)
BERLIN, Sept 22 Switching breast cancer patients
onto Pfizer's (PFE.N) Aromasin half way through a five-year
course of tamoxifen improves their chance of staying cancer-free
for at least the next six years, new research shows.
Aromasin, or exemestane, belongs to a newer class of breast
cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors. They are being
increasingly used as an alternative to the older generic drug
tamoxifen for post-menopausal women with early breast cancer.
"We found that six years after changing treatment, women who
got exemestane (Aromasin) were 18 percent more likely to remain
disease free and were 14 percent less likely to die than those
who stayed on tamoxifen," Charles Coombes, head of oncology at
Imperial College in London said on Tuesday.
The updated results, presented at the ECCO-ESMO cancer
conference in Berlin, confirm that the benefits of switching
from tamoxifen mid-way through a 5-year course of the drug do
not seem to diminish over time, he said.
There are 1.29 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed
worldwide every year. About 75 percent of these cancers are
oestrogen-receptor positive, meaning they are susceptible to
treatment with drugs like tamoxifen and Aromasin.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, Editing by Lin Noueihed)