An Examination of Anastrozole as Endocrine Treatment for Postmenopausal Women with Estrogen-Receptor Positive Breast Cancer
Anderson, Lindsay F.
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Hundreds of thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year. Endocrine, or hormonal, therapy is a standard treatment for women who have hormone-receptor positive breast cancer and prefer less toxicity than chemotherapy. For the past 30 years, tamoxifen has been the standard endocrine treatment for postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer in any setting including first-line, adjuvant, neoadjuvant and prevention of breast cancer. The increased risk of thromboembolic events, cataracts and more seriously, endometrial cancer, caused aromatase inhibitors to be more actively studied as alternative treatment. Studies with the third-generation aromatase inhibitors, which became available for clinical use in the 1990's, indicate aromatase inhibitors are better tolerated and as, or more, effective than tamoxifen. Recent research focuses on testing the efficacy and toxicity of aromatase inhibitors versus tamoxifen. Anastrozole is the most widely studied third-generation aromatase inhibitor and is equally as effective as tamoxifen at preventing disease recurrence and time-to-progression of the disease. Anastrozole is approved for use as first-line, adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy with ongoing studies to assure its place as a standard endocrine therapy.