October 2018 Health Bulletin

New study to relieve hot flushes and night sweats experienced by women after breast cancer

75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer will have a hormone sensitive cancer. Most of these women will go on treatment to block estrogen production (an aromatase inhibitor) or action (tamoxifen) in their body. All postmenopausal women have low estrogen, but these treatments result in very profound estrogen deficiency and usually, more severe menopausal symptoms.

The common menopausal symptoms, hot flushes and night sweats, can be debilitating, and cause severe sleep deprivation. But after breast cancer women cannot use estrogen to relieve these symptoms. There are some alternatives to manage flushes and sweats, but mostly they are not very effective.

A study to evaluate a new potential treatment to prevent hot flushes and night sweats for severely affected women with breast cancer is commencing at several sites in Australia.

The QUE STudy will determine the effectiveness of QUE 122 to relieve hot flushes and night sweats. This is a small molecule that attaches to a cell receptor called ‘CXCR4’. This receptor is a target for drugs to treat cancer, but the QUE 122 molecule was found, in an early study, to relieve hot flushes and night sweats. The molecule was discovered at Emory University in the USA and the company, Que Oncology, that is sponsoring the study was formed through a collaboration that involves Emory University and University of Queensland.

The Monash Women’s Health Research Program is now recruiting women with breast cancer on hormone therapy (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) to this study. Women can participate in this study at our site at the Monash Alfred Hospital Campus, at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and at sites in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

To be eligible to participate in the study women need to be aged 18-70 years, have been taking tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor for at least 1 month and be experiencing 7 or more hot flushes/night sweats each day.

For more information about the QUE STudy please email womens.health@monash.edu or call Corallee on +61 3 9903 0836

Information provided might not be relevant to a particular person's circumstances and should always be discussed with that person's own healthcare provider.