UNM Cancer Research & Treatment Center Participates in North America's Largest Breast Cancer Prevention Trial

The largest North American breast cancer prevention trial ever undertaken seeks one thousand more women to take part in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR). Since STAR began recruiting in July 1999, 18,000 women have volunteered but researchers need 19,000 in all before July 2004 to know whether tamoxifen or raloxifen prevents breast cancer better and with fewer side effects. Over 500 sites in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico are participating in STAR.

STAR is designed to determine whether the osteoporosis prevention and treatment drug raloxifene (Evista®) is as effective as tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) in reducing breast cancer risk. It is the follow-up study to the landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT), published in 1998, which led to tamoxifen being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for risk reduction in women at increased risk for developing breast cancer.

Once a woman decides to participate, she is randomly assigned to receive either 20-mg tamoxifen or 60-mg raloxifene daily. She also obtains regular follow-up examinations until the results of the trial are known.  "The women in STAR know that their health is our first priority because they are at increased risk for getting this disease. As part of the trial, their care is closely monitored," said Ann Parsons, RN, a research nurse at the UNM Cancer Research & Treatment Center.

STAR includes postmenopausal women who are at increased risk for breast cancer due to a family history of breast cancer and a combination of personal medical factors. These factors are used to estimate a woman's individual risk for developing the disease in the next five years and in her lifetime.

STAR is conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), a not-for-profit cancer research group, and is funded by the National Cancer Institute. For more information about STAR contact the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER. Visit www.breastcancerprevention.com to calculate your breast cancer risk.

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322

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