Tens of thousands more women at increased risk of breast cancer could now benefit from a proven risk-reducing drug on the NHS, after it was licensed in a new use to help prevent the disease.

Anastrozole, which has been used for many years as a breast cancer treatment, has now been licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as a preventive option – which it is hoped could help prevent around 2,000 cases of breast cancer in England.

The drug, which is off-patent, has been shown in trials to reduce the incidence of the disease in post-menopausal women at increased risk of the disease by almost 50%.

It was first recommended as a preventive option by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2017, however, with the treatment being unlicensed in this use, uptake has remained low.

Thanks to a pioneering Medicines Repurposing Programme led by NHS England, the drug has today been granted a new indication by the MHRA as a preventive option for women at increased risk, including those with a significant family history of the disease.

Around 289,000 women at moderate or high risk of breast cancer could be eligible for the drug, and while not all will choose to take it, it is estimated that if 25% do, around 2,000 cases of breast cancer could potentially be prevented in England, while saving the NHS around £15 million in treatment costs.

Read the full article here: NHS drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer