Anastrozole and Breast Cancer Prevention

Anastrozole’s repurposing as a preventive treatment marks a significant advancement in breast cancer care. This post examines Anastrozole’s action, effectiveness, side effects, dosage, UK cost, and eligibility criteria.

Mechanism of Action Anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor. It works by blocking aromatase, reducing estrogen production. Since some breast cancers are estrogen-dependent, lowering estrogen levels can prevent these cancer cells from growing.

Efficacy Research shows that Anastrozole cuts the risk of developing breast cancer by 50% in high-risk postmenopausal women when taken daily for five years. This significant reduction underscores its role as a primary preventive measure.

Side Effects Side effects are a consideration with Anastrozole use. While it can cause symptoms like joint pain and hot flushes, these are typically manageable. The potential benefit of reducing breast cancer risk is a compelling reason for its use despite these side effects.

Dosage The recommended dose of Anastrozole for breast cancer prevention is one 1 mg tablet daily. It can be taken with or without food, offering flexibility for incorporation into daily life.

Cost in the UK The cost is low due to its off-patent status. A five-year course is about £78, a small price for the potential health benefits and the cost savings to the healthcare system by preventing cancer.

Eligibility The treatment is aimed at postmenopausal women who are at a moderate to high risk of breast cancer, which includes those with a family history of the disease. The goal is to offer protection to those most likely to benefit from the drug.

Conclusion Anastrozole offers a cost-effective, preventive option for breast cancer in a targeted group of women. Its introduction is a proactive step in cancer prevention, promising to reduce the incidence and the associated healthcare costs.


  • Data on Anastrozole’s efficacy and cost-effectiveness are available from NHS England and Cancer Research UK.
  • Information on dosage and side effects can be found in medical guidelines provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).