Medicines to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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Other compounds being studied to reduce breast cancer risk

Fenretinide, a drug related to vitamin A, is being studied to see if it can lower breast cancer risk. Other clinical trials are looking at breast cancer reduction as an unintended effect of drugs used for other reasons. (This is how raloxifene, used for osteoporosis, was found to be useful in breast cancer.) Drugs currently being researched include bisphosphonates (drugs for osteoporosis), and statins (such as atorvastatin and lovastatin), which are used to lower cholesterol.

Dietary supplements have also been studied to see if they can reduce breast cancer risk. These have included grapeseed extract, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B6 and B12. Although some of these human studies have been completed, very little has been published in the available medical literature to date.

Supplements being studied now include hydroxytyrosol, a component in olive oil, curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids (coupled with weight loss). These studies aren’t looking directly at the effect of these substances on breast cancer risk, though. They are looking at other factors that may reflect risk.

This type of research takes many years. It might be some time before meaningful results on any of these compounds are available.


Last Medical Review: 10/21/2014
Last Revised: 10/21/2014