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New Hope For Breast Cancer Patients

Exciting new trial results could have a major impact on the lives of thousands of women with breast cancer. These results show the superioty of Novartis treatment Femara® (letrozole) over the established gold-standard tamoxifen, in the treatment of advanced breast cancer.

Two new studies, presented for the first time at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels today, have shown Femara® (letrozole 2.5 mg) is significantly more effective than tamoxifen (the standard endocrine therapy), in certain breast cancer treatments for postmenopausal women. Tamoxifen has been internationally acclaimed as having had a major impact in the treatment of breast cancer over the last two decades.

“These study results challenge the existing treatments and will have a significant impact on breast cancer therapy,” said Dr Henning Mouridsen, Professor of Oncology, Copenhagen University Hospital and lead investigator for the trials.

“The potential for Femara as first-line therapy for postmenopausal women is very important for patients and clinicians, providing a step forward in the effective management of advanced breast cancer,” he added.

Femara has been used predominately worldwide as 2nd line therapy for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer, however in New Zealand, funding restrictions require it to be used as 3rd line therapy.

The two studies directly compare the effects of tamoxifen, the current standard treatment, with Femara in postmenopausal women with localised or locally advanced hormone-sensitive breast cancer, and advanced breast cancer.

The first of the two studies shows that Femara significantly delays progression of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women, achieving a better overall response to therapy compared with tamoxifen. This result is confirmed by the significant differences seen favouring Femara, in response rates, as well as clinical benefit and time to treatment failure.

Novartis New Zealand Business Unit Manager, Pru Etcheverry, says the results are very encouraging for women with breast cancer.

“These results will create considerable interest and debate world-wide among the medical community and we expect it will lead to Femara playing a greater role in New Zealand in the treatment of women with breast cancer.”


Please see accompanying release for detailed information about the trials, Femara and Novartis

For further information, please contact:

Pru Etcheverry
Business Unit Manager
Novartis New Zealand Limited
tel 09 828 3149
fax 09 820 3776
Sharon Wilson
Product Manager

Issued by Core Communications tel 64 9 360 1476, fax 64 9 360 1479, email

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