A trial of tamoxifen and exemestane for early breast cancer in post menopausal women (TEAM)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer




Phase 3

This trial was comparing tamoxifen and exemestane as treatment for breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors often use hormone therapy to treat early breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Tamoxifen is a type of hormone therapy. We knew from research that taking tamoxifen for 5 years lowered the risk of breast cancer coming back.

Researchers knew that other types of hormone therapy may also reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back. In this trial, they looked at a drug called exemestane.

The aim of the trial was to find out if taking exemestane was better than taking tamoxifen for 2 to 3 years before switching to exemestane.

Summary of results

The researchers found that having 5 years of exemestane straight away worked as well as having tamoxifen for 2 to 3 years followed by exemestane.

The trial recruited over 9,000 women who had already had surgery and possibly chemotherapy for early breast cancer. Half the women took exemestane from the start.  The other half took tamoxifen, followed by exemestane.

In this trial, there was no difference in how well these treatments worked. The number of women living for at least 5 years without any sign of the cancer coming back was about the same in both groups.

For postmenopausal women with oestrogen receptor positive early breast cancer, both tamoxifen followed by exemestane and initial therapy with exemestane for 5 years are treatment options.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Daniel Rea

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Birmingham

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/01/014.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 44

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Caroline took part in a clinical trial for breast cancer

“I had treatment last year and I want to give something back.”

Last reviewed:

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