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Ann Oncol. 2010 Mar;21(3):498-505. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp358. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

Long-term endometrial effects in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer participating in the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES)--a randomised controlled trial of exemestane versus continued tamoxifen after 2-3 years tamoxifen.

Author information

  • 1Department of Oncology, Singleton Hospital, South West Wales Cancer Institute, Swansea, UK. gianfilippo.bertelli@swansea-tr.wales.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The antiestrogen tamoxifen may have partial estrogen-like effects on the postmenopausal uterus. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are increasingly used after initial tamoxifen in the adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal early breast cancer due to their mechanism of action: a potential benefit being a reduction of uterine abnormalities caused by tamoxifen.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Sonographic uterine effects of the steroidal AI exemestane were studied in 219 women participating in the Intergroup Exemestane Study: a large trial in postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive (or unknown) early breast cancer, disease free after 2-3 years of tamoxifen, randomly assigned to continue tamoxifen or switch to exemestane to complete 5 years adjuvant treatment. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with abnormal (> or =5 mm) endometrial thickness (ET) on transvaginal ultrasound 24 months after randomisation.

RESULTS:

The analysis included 183 patients. Two years after randomisation, the proportion of patients with abnormal ET was significantly lower in the exemestane compared with tamoxifen arm (36% versus 62%, respectively; P = 0.004). This difference emerged within 6 months of switching treatment (43.5% versus 65.2%, respectively; P = 0.01) and disappeared within 12 months of treatment completion (30.8% versus 34.7%, respectively; P = 0.67).

CONCLUSION:

Switching from tamoxifen to exemestane significantly reverses endometrial thickening associated with continued tamoxifen.

PMID:
19717534
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2826098
Free PMC Article
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