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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Megestrol acetate versus tamoxifen in advanced breast cancer: 5-year analysis--a phase III trial of the Piedmont Oncology Association.

One hundred thirty-eight patients with recurrent or metastatic breast cancer were randomized to receive megestrol acetate 40 mg orally four times daily or tamoxifen 10 mg orally twice a day. Upon treatment failure patients were crossed over to the alternate treatment. Eligibility required that either the estrogen receptor (ER) or progesterone receptor (PR) be positive or that both values be unknown, and that the patients be at least 2 years post-spontaneous menopause or over 50 years of age. Pretreatment characteristics including performance status (PS), disease-free interval (DFI), receptor status, and prior treatment were similar for both groups. Only three patients had previous hormonal therapy while one third had prior chemotherapy. Objective response was determined using strict International Union Against Cancer (UICC) criteria. Seventeen of 61 patients achieved complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) on megestrol (28%) while 20 of 64 patients achieved CR or PR on tamoxifen (31%). Responses of skin and bone lesions were similar for both agents; however, more patients with visceral disease responded to tamoxifen. Response did not correlate with the level of ER or PR but was correlated with age. Both unadjusted and adjusted analysis of time to progression and adjusted analysis (for pretreatment variables) of survival showed significant differences favoring tamoxifen. Six of 44 patients (14%) crossed from megestrol to tamoxifen achieved CR or PR while only two of 38 patients (5%) crossed from tamoxifen to megestrol achieved response. Only one of the original patients randomized to megestrol remains on study, while 12 patients still remain on tamoxifen. These data indicate similar response rates for megestrol and tamoxifen; however, time to progression and overall survival significantly favor tamoxifen when used as first-line therapy in this trial.[1]


  1. Megestrol acetate versus tamoxifen in advanced breast cancer: 5-year analysis--a phase III trial of the Piedmont Oncology Association. Muss, H.B., Wells, H.B., Paschold, E.H., Black, W.R., Cooper, M.R., Capizzi, R.L., Christian, R., Cruz, J.M., Jackson, D.V., Powell, B.L. J. Clin. Oncol. (1988) [Pubmed]
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