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Breast Cancer Research News

Tibolone increases the risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients, while relieving vasomotor symptoms and preventing bone loss.

The LIBERATE Study Group (Lancet Oncol. 2009 Jan 22)

In this multicentre trial, 3148 women [surgically treated for breast cancer] with vasomotor symptoms were randomly assigned to either tibolone 2.5 mg daily or placebo. Of the 3148 women randomised, 3098 were included in the ITT analysis (1556 in the tibolone group and 1542 in the placebo group). Mean age at randomisation was 52.7 years (SD 7.3) and mean time since surgery was 2.1 years (SD 1.3). 1792 of 3098 (58%) women were node positive and 2185 of 3098 (71%) were oestrogen-receptor positive. At study entry, 2068 of 3098 (67%) women used tamoxifen and 202 of 3098 (6.5%) women used aromatase inhibitors. The mean daily number of hot flushes was 6.4 (SD 5.1). After a median follow-up of 3.1 years (range 0.01-4.99), 237 of 1556 (15.2%) women on tibolone had a cancer recurrence, compared with 165 of 1542 (10.7%) on placebo (HR 1.40 [95% CI 1.14-1.70]; p=0.001). Results in the per-protocol population were similar (209 of 1254 [16.7%] women in the tibolone group had a recurrence vs 138 of 1213 [11.4%] women in the placebo group; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.16-1.79]; p=0.0009). Tibolone was not different from placebo with regard to other safety outcomes, such as mortality (72 patients vs 63 patients, respectively), cardiovascular events (14 vs 10, respectively), or gynaecological cancers (10 vs 10, respectively). Vasomotor symptoms and bone-mineral density improved significantly with tibolone, compared with placebo.