Tamoxifen Chemoprophylaxis Offers Cost-Effective Benefits

Reduces postmenopausal breast cancer incidence, improves life expectancy after active treatment

MONDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Tamoxifen chemoprophylaxis is a cost-effective policy which reduces breast cancer incidence, and improves life expectancy for postmenopausal women younger than 55 years, following active treatment, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer.

Joyce Noah-Vanhoucke, Ph.D., from Archimedes Inc. in San Francisco, and colleagues compared the cost-effectiveness of tamoxifen therapy with no therapy for breast cancer risk reduction for lifetime follow-up in a simulated postmenopausal population of women younger than 55 years of age who had undergone active treatment. The virtual trial was based on a meta-analysis of four randomized, placebo-controlled chemoprevention clinical trials for reduction of breast cancer risk up to 10 years after the end of active treatment. Data for cancer incidence and survival data were derived from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results statistics, and literature review yielded noncancer disease incidences, quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) utility weights, and costs.

The investigators found that tamoxifen therapy saved 29 QALYs compared to no therapy in a population of 1,000 postmenopausal women (younger than 55 years), at an additional cost of $333,000 over lifetime follow-up. Compared with no treatment, tamoxifen therapy was cost-saving for higher-risk populations (five-year risk, ≥1.66 percent).

"The current results indicated that tamoxifen chemoprophylaxis for postmenopausal women aged <55 years is a cost-effective health policy that reduces breast cancer incidence and improves life expectancy," the authors write.

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