Pharmacologic interventions for cancer risk reduction involve the chronic administration of synthetic or natural agents to reduce or delay the occurrence of malignancy. Despite the strong evidence for a favorable risk-benefit ratio for a number of agents in several common malignancies such as breast and prostate cancer, the public's attitude toward cancer chemoprevention remains ambivalent, with the issue of toxicity associated with drugs being perceived as the main barrier to widespread use of preventive therapy by high-risk subjects. Among the strategies to overcome such obstacles to preventive therapies, two novel and potentially safer modes of administering agents are discussed in this paper. The first strategy is to lower the dose of drugs that are in common use in the adjuvant setting based on the notion that prevention of cancer cells from developing should require a lower dose than eradicating established tumor cells. A second approach is to adopt an intermittent administration similar to what is used in the chemotherapy setting in an attempt to minimize risks while retaining benefits. This article provides a detailed discussion of the principles and future development of these two approaches in the direction of a precision preventive medicine.
- Breast cancer
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