Finding ways to predict which women will benefit from breast cancer chemoprevention drugs

Project details

Researcher: Professor Gareth Evans

Location: University of Manchester

Project title: Finding ways to predict which women will benefit from breast cancer chemoprevention drugs

Key area: Prevention

The challenge

Women at increased risk of breast cancer now have the option to take chemoprevention drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene to reduce their risk. However, these treatments will prevent only around a third of breast cancers. We need to find ways to determine whether a woman taking chemoprevention is benefiting from them or not.

Project description

Professor Evans is leading a clinical trial called PROCAS which is identifying women at increased risk of breast cancer during routine breast screening appointments. Women at higher risk are then offered chemoprevention drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene. This project will extend the work of the PROCAS study.

Professor Evans will first investigate how many women accept chemoprevention treatment after having their breast cancer risk assessed during their breast screening appointment. Secondly, Professor Evans will assess whether changes to the density of their breast tissue could help determine whether chemoprevention drugs are working.

He will use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a new technique called bio-impedance, alongside mammograms, to find out whether changes to breast density could be detected at an earlier stage than is currently possible.

What difference will this project make?

Professor Evans’s research will determine how many women take up chemoprevention treatment to reduce their risk of breast cancer, and will find accurate ways to monitor whether these drugs are working. This means that women who are not benefiting from chemoprevention drugs can explore alternative options and be spared of the side effects, ultimately ensuring that women receive the most appropriate treatment for them.

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