Smoking may reduce the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment.
This was according to new research, which revealed that smoking had little or zero effect on the benefit of other drugs, such as chemotherapy or tamoxifen as well as radiation treatment. However, lead researcher Helena Jernstrom revealed in a news release
that the findings of the study need confirmation. When confirmed, smoking status must be considered when choosing the kind of breast cancer therapy.
In breast cancer patients taking aromatase inhibitors, smokers were three times at risk of their cancer returning than nonsmokers, the researchers revealed. However, the study could not develop a cause-and-effect link.
Common aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), and Femara (letrozole) hindered the production of estrogen in postmenopausal women. It lowers the amount of estrogen needed for the stimulation of the hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells.
Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is the most common type of breast cancer, which accounts for 2 of every 3 cases. The American Cancer Society reveals that early detection and treatment can mean 100 percent survival of the patients for more than five years.
The study involved more than 1,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in a 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. From that number, 1 in 5 women were found to be smoking before breast cancer surgery. The research revealed that women 50 years and up who underwent treatment with aromatase inhibitors fared considerably worse during the follow up period if they smoked than if they didn't.
As only a small percentage of smokers quit during the treatment, Jenstrom said that there is no information on whether quitting smoking while taking aromatase inhibitors will increase the effectiveness of the drug.