Toremifene and tamoxifen are equally effective for early-stage breast cancer: First results of International Breast Cancer Study Group trials 12-93 and 14-93

O. Pagani, S. Gelber, E. Simoncini, M. Castiglione-Gertsch, K. Price, D. Zahrieh, R. Gelber, A. Coates, A. Goldhirsch

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Background: Toremifene is a chlorinated derivative of tamoxifen, developed to improve its risk-benefit profile. The International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) conducted two complementary randomized trials for peri- and postmenopausal patients with node-positive breast cancer to compare toremifene versus tamoxifen as the endocrine agent and simultaneously investigate a chemotherapy-oriented question. This is the first report of the endocrine comparison after a median follow-up of 5.5 years. Patients and methods: 1035 patients were available for analysis: 75% had estrogen receptor (ER)-positive primary tumors, the median number of involved axillary lymph nodes was three and 81% received prior adjuvant chemotherapy. Results: Toremifene and tamoxifen yielded similar disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS): 5-year DFS rates of 72% and 69%, respectively [risk ratio (RR)=0.95; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.76-1.18]; 5-year OS rates of 85% and 81%, respectively (RR = 1.03; 95% CI = 0.78-1.36). Similar outcomes were observed in the ER-positive cohort. Toxicities were similar in the two treatment groups with very few women (<1%) experiencing severe thromboembolic or cerebrovascular complications. Quality of life results were also similar. Nine patients developed early stage endometrial cancer (toremifene, six; tamoxifen, three). Conclusions: Toremifene is a valid and safe alternative to tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with endocrine-responsive breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1749-1758
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004



  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Early-stage breast cancer
  • Tamoxifen
  • Toremifene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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