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Maturitas. 2011 Dec;70(4):315-21. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.09.006. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Progress in endocrine approaches to the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, United States.


Tamoxifen had been the only available hormonal option for the systemic treatment for breast cancer from 1973 to 2000. Enormous efforts have led to the development of potent and selective third generation aromatase inhibitors including anastrozole, letrozole and exemestane. Due to their superior efficacy to tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors are presently approved as first line agents for the treatment of advanced estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer and adjuvant therapy in early ER positive early breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Selective ER Modulators (SERMS), tamoxifen and raloxifene are the only agents presently used in breast cancer prevention in high risk women and their use has increased substantially over the last decade. Third generations SERMS, lasofoxifene and bazedoxifene have shown significant reduction in bone loss compared to placebo in postmenopausal women and are currently approved in the European Union for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This review outlines the current strategies employed in the use of endocrine therapy in the management and prevention of breast cancer.

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