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A 'Preemptive' Strike

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Tamoxifen, an effective treatment for breast cancer, may also prevent the disease in healthy women a new Cancer paper reveals. Although the drug has serious side effects — such as raising the risk of uterine cancer, heart attack, and stroke — it could be worth the risk for some healthy women under 55, reports New Scientist's Andy Coghlan. The paper — an analysis of data from four clinical trials of tamoxifen, taking into account information from more than 1.5 million women — suggests that there is a "window" in which the drug could be taken to prevent breast cancer, Coghlan says. "Women most likely to benefit are those aged 50 to 55 who are judged to have a risk of developing breast cancer within five years that is more than 66 percent higher than normal," he adds. One of the study's authors, Peter Alperin of the healthcare consultancy firm Archimedes, says that for every 1,000 women preemptively treated with tamoxifen, 29 cases of breast cancer and nine deaths from the disease could be prevented.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.