Along with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), Frederick Memorial Hospital extends its appreciation to local participants in the “STAR” Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, a clinical trial evaluating the role of these two drugs in the prevention of breast cancer.
Between 1999 and 2004, the successful trial enrolled 19,747 postmenopausal women at risk of developing breast cancer. This long-term study officially came to an end in May 2012.
The findings from STAR showed that raloxifene and tamoxifen are viable options for reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer among postmenopausal women at higher risk of developing the disease. Not only do the drugs reduce risk while patients take them, the benefits were found to continue even after patients stopped taking the pills.
STAR also advanced the overall understanding of breast cancer risk reduction. All well-designed and executed clinical trials both answer questions and generate new ones. The data and specimens collected from study participants have already enabled researchers to answer numerous questions about the benefits and risks of treating patients before cancer develops. As new technologies develop, these data and specimens collected during the study will help researchers answer new questions about breast cancer risk and prevention.
The 21 women who participated in the local branch of STAR committed to the study by faithfully attending study visits, coming in for periodic breast and gynecological exams, having regular mammograms, completing questionnaires, and taking a study medication daily for five years. The local patients were, for the most part, very compliant and cooperative with all aspects of the study and considered their participation in STAR a very worthwhile effort. Interestingly, none of the patients enrolled in the study have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
Collectively, the generous contributions of the STAR participants helped to shape the way we see breast cancer prevention and the way we treat women at a heightened risk for the disease.
“These results get to the heart of the reason we have such an active clinical trials program here at Frederick Memorial Hospital,” says FMH Clinical Trials Manager Shelley Francella. “These women not only lessened their personal risk for developing breast cancer, they also contributed to the greater scientific understanding of how breast cancer behaves. That knowledge is a meaningful step toward finding a cure one day.”
“While we can’t thank the participants publicly by name, we are recognizing each one with a certificate of appreciation,” added Patricia Rice, MSN, APN-BC, OCN, part of the care team with Oncology Care Consultants. “Their willingness to participate in this important study, giving their time over the course of several years, will shape the future of breast cancer treatment.”