New research has found that a long-known drug to help treat breast cancer may also be used to reduce death risks from lung cancer as well. The drug is an anti-estrogen and has been known for nearly 30 years.
The study can be found in Cancer, a journal published online.
The drug, called tamoxifen, was shown to decrease lung cancer death risks in women with breast cancer. Researchers claim the results may be premature to use this drug as a treatment option for lung cancer patients, however.
Researchers believe this drug may be instrumental for lung cancer patients as lung cancer is believed to be caused at least somewhat by estrogen.
Another finding experts have explained is that in previous studies, lung cancer risks were shown to increase during menopause as women underwent hormone replacement therapy. Based on that, researchers believed the use of an anti-estrogen might be an effective treatment option for lung cancer as well.
For this study, researchers examined health records of 6,655 women. Each woman had a breast cancer diagnosis, and nearly half of the women were treated with an anti-estrogen drug, primarly tamoxifen.
For women receiving anti-estrogen treatment, lung cancer death risks were nearly 90 percent lower than in women who did not receive treatment.
Limitations on this study could have been the sample size, as only 40 women developed lung cancer.
Additionally, some studies involving mice have explained that tamoxifen may increase lung cancer risks.
Compiling all information, researchers firmly believe additional studies need to be performed.