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Ann Oncol. 1999 Apr;10(4):377-84.

The third-generation non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors: a review of their clinical benefits in the second-line hormonal treatment of advanced breast cancer.

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  • 1Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

Three new aromatase inhibitors have recently completed phase III evaluation as treatment of metastatic breast cancer in post-menopausal women whose disease has progressed despite tamoxifen therapy: anastrozole (ARIMIDEX, Zeneca), letrozole (FEMARA, Novartis) and vorozole (RIVIZOR, Janssen). All belong to the third generation of non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors, and each is superior to previous generations in terms of potency and selectivity. The trials that have been performed compare each agent to megestrol acetate, and letrozole and vorozole to aminoglutethimide. Although the studies are not directly comparable due to differing study designs and patient populations, it has been demonstrated each of these drugs provides single agent, once-daily, oral palliation of hormone-responsive, post-menopausal metastatic breast cancer. Letrozole is clearly more effective than megestrol acetate, and anastrozole and vorozole are possibly so. All three are better tolerated than the progestin, particularly in terms of weight gain. Both letrozole and vorozole are significantly more effective, and better tolerated than aminoglutethimide. Overall, this most recent generation of aromatase inhibitors is a clear improvement on our current standard second-line therapies. In 1999, tamoxifen remains the first choice in the hormonal therapy of breast cancer. Following tamoxifen failure, the optimal second-line hormonal therapy remains undefined, but aminoglutethimide and megestrol acetate are no longer optimal therapy in this setting. The third-generation non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors must now be compared to each other, to the steroidal aromatase inhibitors, to the pure anti-oestrogens, and to tamoxifen.

PMID:
10370778
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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