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Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 Dec;30(8):695-706.

Selective oestrogen receptor modulators/new antioestrogens: a clinical perspective.

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Department of Surgery, City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK.


Following tamoxifen, the first selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM), a number of other antioestrogens have been developed. The first-generation SERMs exhibit cross-resistance with tamoxifen and have agonist effects on the uterus. Toremifene has equal efficacy to tamoxifen and may be useful as a tamoxifen alternative. Efficacy results for droloxifene and idoxifene were disappointing and their clinical development ceased. Response rates for second-generation SERMs such as raloxifene and arzoxifene are also not high, although raloxifene shows promise in the chemoprevention of breast cancer. Paradoxically, high-dose oestrogens are proving to be effective breast cancer treatment with similar responses to tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with advanced disease, although these drugs are not well tolerated. Fulvestrant is a new type of oestrogen receptor (ER) antagonist with no agonist effects, which binds, blocks and degrades the ER. Fulvestrant produces high response rates compared with the SERMs, is not cross-resistant with SERMs or aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and is equally as effective as the AI anastrozole in the treatment of postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer who have progressed after prior antioestrogen therapy. Pure antioestrogens such as the ER antagonist fulvestrant provide opportunities for therapeutic sequencing with tamoxifen and AIs and offer exciting possibilities for the future treatment of breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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