The breast cancer drug tamoxifen may reduce some side effects of men undergoing prostate cancer treatment, according to a new study published August 27 in the journal BMC Medicine.
The study involved researchers who looked at four different studies of men with prostate cancer, reports Fox News. The study discovered that, when the men’s treatments were supplemented with tamoxifen, they were less likely to see breast enlargement and breast pain than those who did not take the breast cancer drug.
The researchers showed that men who took tamoxifen were 10 percent less likely to have breast enlargement after six months and six percent less likely to experience breast cancer. The tamoxifen breast cancer drug works to counteract the effects of estrogen on breast tissue.
The breast cancer drug was also able to prevent these side effects of prostate cancer treatment better than other drugs like anastrozole, which also counteracts estrogen’s effects but in a different way. Men tend to stop prostate cancer treatments because of the growth of breast tissue and breast pain, according to the researchers.
Lead study author Dr. Frank Kunath of the University Clinic Erlangen in Germany stated that:
“If men know that there is a successful option for reducing the breast symptoms associated with treatment for prostate cancer, they may be more likely to see their doctor when symptoms of cancer first appear, and consequently reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.”
US News went on to note that Dr. Kunath also stated:
“Not all men will suffer [breast enlargement] during anti-androgen therapy. However, if men know that there is a successful option for reducing the breast symptoms associated with treatment for prostate cancer, they may be more likely to see their doctor when symptoms of cancer first appear, and consequently reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.”
The researchers also showed that few of the prostate cancer patients who were treated with the breast cancer drug tamoxifen stopped taking their medication during the year-long treatment, and the drug also caused no significant side effects.