“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 of tamoxifen and exemestane for early breast cancer in post menopausal women (TEAM)
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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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Daniel Rea
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Birmingham
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/01/014.