News Releases

A Call to Action — Women Across the State Needed for Breast Cancer Study Looking at Preventive Benefits of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and its five satellite sites hope to recruit 200 women to the study over the next three years

SEATTLE — Oct. 25, 2001 — While recent studies show that breast cancer deaths are declining, it is clear that more needs to be understood in the area of prevention. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) is comparing whether the osteoporosis prevention and treatment drug raloxifene (Evista®) is as effective as tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) in reducing breast cancer risk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer accounts for one in three cancer diagnoses in women — some 192,000 annually. Second only to lung cancer, it kills more than 40,000 women a year. About 77 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are in women over age 50, and the disease crosses all racial and ethnic lines. Risk for breast cancer also increases if women have close relatives, particularly mothers or sisters, who have had the disease.

STAR is looking for more women who want to share in the experience of learning more about breast cancer prevention. Women are welcome to call for a no-obligation risk assessment to determine their risk of breast cancer and weigh the pros and cons of joining the trial.

"The 11,000 women participating in this study are women of action and involvement who believe that without women willing to commit to research studies there will be no new advances in breast cancer prevention," says Joelle Machia, STAR program coordinator. "Together these women not only hope that they may directly benefit from participating but are doing their part to help ensure that their daughters and granddaughters have a future free of breast cancer. They are all our heroes."

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Puget Sound Oncology Consortium (PSOC) is the local coordinating and recruitment site for the national Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR, one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever. The sites currently recruiting women are:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Puget Sound Oncology Consortium Coordinating Site:
Rick Clarfeld, M.D., principal investigator for STAR
Joelle Machia, R.N., coordinator for STAR
For information or enrollment, call (206) 667-6544

PSOC Satellites: Olympic Hematology and Oncology
Ronald Reiner, M.D., co-investigator
For information or enrollment, call (360) 479-6154

Rockwood Clinic
Kirk Lund, M.D., co-investigator
For information or enrollment, call (509) 838-2531 ext. 3267

St. Charles Medical Center
Richard Woods, M.D., co-investigator
For information or enrollment, call (541) 317-4359

St. Joseph Hospital Community Cancer Center
Cary Kaufman, M.D., co-investigator
For information or enrollment, call (360) 734-5400 ext. 2611

Swedish Medical Center
Saul Rivkin, M.D., co-investigator
For information or enrollment, call (206) 386-6132

Women who participate in STAR must be postmenopausal, at least age 35, and have an increased risk of breast cancer as determined by their age, family history of breast cancer, personal medical history, age at first menstrual period, and age at first live birth. They will also go through a process known as informed consent, during which they will learn about the potential benefits and risks of tamoxifen and raloxifene before deciding whether to participate in STAR.

Once a woman chooses to participate, she will be randomly assigned to receive either 20 mg tamoxifen or 60 mg raloxifene daily for five years and will have regular follow-up examinations, including mammograms and gynecologic exams.

Media Note
There are a number of opportunities for you to interview women currently participating in STAR. Please call for more information on a woman from your area.

Media Contact
Susan Edmonds
(206) 667-2896
sedmonds@fhcrc.org

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of two Nobel Prize laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Fred Hutchinson receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, the University of Washington Academic Medical Center and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 38 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's Web site at www.fhcrc.org.