“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A trial looking at tamoxifen or anastrozole in postmenopausal women with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast (IBIS II DCIS)
This trial looked at 2 hormone therapy drugs called tamoxifen and anastrozole after surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). It was for women who had been through the
More about this trial
DCIS means the cells inside the ducts of the breast have started to turn into cancer cells. Some doctors refer to DCIS as a pre-cancerous condition. Others call it a very early form of breast cancer.
Doctors usually treat DCIS with surgery because if it is left untreated it may develop into invasive breast cancer.
In this trial doctors wanted to see if hormone therapy could help to lower the risk of DCIS or invasive breast cancer in women that have had surgery for DCIS. In this trial, some women had tamoxifen and some had anastrozole.
The aims of this trial were to
- Find out if tamoxifen or anastrozole is better at stopping DCIS or invasive breast cancer coming back after surgery
- Learn more about the side effects of tamoxifen and anastrazole
Summary of results
The trial team found that anastrozole was no better than tamoxifen in lowering the risk of the DCIS or invasive breast cancer coming back after surgery.
2, 980 women took part in this trial. Everyone had treatment for up to 5 years.
- 1, 509 had tamoxifen and a dummy tablet (
placebo) of the other drug
- 1, 471 had anastrozole and a dummy tablet of the other drug
After an average of 7 years, the trial team found that DCIS or invasive breast cancer had come back in 144 women. Of those,
- 77 women had tamoxifen
- 67 women had anastrozole
The researchers say this difference was not
The number of side effects the women in the 2 groups had was not different but the type of side effects the women reported were different.
Women who took tamoxifen had more
- Gynaecological and skin cancers
- Blood clots in the leg or lung
- Hot flushes, vaginal bleeding and discharge
Women who took anastrozole had more
- Joint and muscle pain or stiffness (musculoskeletal problems)
- Vaginal dryness
The trial team concluded that anastrozole was no better than tamoxifen at stopping DCIS or invasive breast cancer coming back after an average of 7 years of follow up. But anastrozole offers another treatment option for this group of women. The trial team will follow up these women for a longer period of time. They will release the next results when there is at least 10 years of follow up data available.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Jack Cuzick
Professor Antony Howell
Professor John Forbes
Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Queen Mary University of London
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/04/032/033.