Background and Objectives: The most powerful predictor of the response of breast cancers to hormonal therapy is the presence of estrogen receptors in the tumor cells. Estrogen receptors are expressed in approximately 35-55% of all breast tumors but up to 80-90% of tumors from women older than 55 years. Methods: At this time, tamoxifen remains the first-line hormonal therapy for breast cancer of all stages. However, the aromatase inhibitors are evolving into an important treatment option. Aromatase inhibitors prevent the conversion of precursors (androgens) to estrogens. Results: On the basis of several randomized clinical trials, aromatase inhibitors have become established as the second-line therapy for post-menopausal women with advanced breast cancer progressing during tamoxifen therapy. Furthermore, very recent trials support the use of these agents as first-line therapy in place of tamoxifen. Conclusions: The roles of the selective aromatase inhibitors in the prevention of breast cancer and in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment of early-stage breast cancer are the focus of several planned and ongoing large-scale clinical trials. These trials will answer some of the many questions that remain regarding optimal hormonal therapy for hormone-dependent breast cancer.
- Aromatase inhibitors and antagonists
- Breast neoplasms
- Clinical trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas