Medicines to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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Other compounds being studied

Some other medicines, such as bexarotene and deslorelin, are in early-stage clinical trials for breast cancer chemoprevention. It is not yet clear how well they may work to reduce breast cancer.

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 (atorvastatin and lovastatin, drugs used to lower cholesterol).

Two more hormone treatment drugs are being studied for reducing breast cancer risk. A selective estrogen response modifier (SERM) called arzoxifene that has been used in Europe is now being studied in the US. A new anti-estrogen called acolbifene is also being tested.

Clinical trials were begun some years ago on a few dietary supplements to look at their possible role in reducing breast cancer risk. These included grapeseed extract, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B6 and B12. Although records suggest that some of these human studies have been completed, very little has been published in the available medical literature to date.

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


Last Medical Review: 06/04/2013
Last Revised: 07/17/2013