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Anastrozole (By mouth)

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Anastrozole is used to treat certain types of breast cancer in women who have already stopped menstruating (postmenopausal). It is also used for women who have already had other cancer treatments (e.g., tamoxifen). Many breast cancer tumors grow in response to estrogen. This medicine interferes with the production of estrogen in the body. As a result, the amount of estrogen that the tumor is… Read more
Brand names include
Arimidex
Drug classes About this
Antineoplastic Agent, Endocrine-Metabolic Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

A meta-analysis of anastrozole in combination with fulvestrant in the first line treatment of hormone receptor positive advanced breast cancer

Fulvestrant is a highly active systemic therapy in patients with metastatic hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Preclinical work suggested potential synergy of fulvestrant in combination with aromatase inhibitor therapy and delayed development of endocrine resistance. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the effectiveness of fulvestrant plus anastrozole, compared to anastrozole alone, as first line treatment of postmenopausal stage IV hormone receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. The literature search was performed using PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, ASCO, and ESMO to search for abstracts published during the last 10 years using relevant keywords. Two prospective randomized clinical trials were found to fulfill the search criteria for combination of anastrozole plus fulvestrant versus anastrozole alone. Meta-estimates were calculated by combining study estimates using the DerSimonian and Laird random effects model. The linear mixed-effects model was used to generate 95 % prediction intervals (PIs) for study-specific hazard and odds ratios. Pooled hazard ratio for progression-free survival is 0.88 (95 % CI 0.72-1.09, 95 % PI 0.65-1.21), overall survival 0.88 (95 % CI 0.72-1.08, 95 % PI 0.68-1.14) and pooled odds ratio for response rate is 1.13 (95 % CI 0.79-1.63, 95 % PI 0.78-1.65). A non-significant trend was observed with anastrozole plus fulvestrant being only marginally better than anastrozole alone in the endpoints of: progression-free survival, overall survival, and response rates. Based on these data, there is not solid evidence that the addition of fulvestrant at a dose of 250 mg monthly is better than anastrozole alone as first line therapy in women with postmenopausal hormone receptor positive breast cancer.

Fulvestrant 250mg versus anastrozole 1 mg in the treatment of advanced breast cancer: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

OBJECTIVE: Most patients with advanced breast cancer experience resistance to endocrine treatment and eventual disease progression. This meta-analysis was designed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of fulvestrant 250 mg with anastrozole 1mg in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer.

Effectiveness of switching from adjuvant tamoxifen to anastrozole in postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early-stage breast cancer: a meta-analysis

This review concluded that participants who changed to anastrozole after 2 to 3 years' treatment with tamoxifen had significantly fewer disease recurrences than those remaining on tamoxifen for 5 years. Survival was also significantly improved. Poor reporting of review methodology and the lack of knowledge about the quality of the trials mean that the authors' conclusions should be interpreted with caution.

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Summaries for consumers

Aromatase inhibitors as upfront therapy for early-stage breast cancer

In upfront therapy after breast surgery, aromatase inhibitors are taken for five years. The aromatase inhibitors anastrozole and letrozole have been approved for use in upfront therapy in Germany.

Early-stage breast cancer: Switching to aromatase inhibitors after tamoxifen

In the "switch" treatment approach, the patient uses tamoxifen for two to three years, and then switches to an aromatase inhibitor. This anti-estrogen treatment lasts for five years in total. The decision regarding whether or not to switch to an aromatase inhibitor is made after the treatment with tamoxifen. The aromatase inhibitors anastrozole and exemestane have been approved for this treatment approach in Germany.

Palbociclib (Ibrance) for the treatment of advanced breast cancer: Overview

Palbociclib (trade name: Ibrance) has been approved in Germany since November 2016 for the treatment of advanced hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in women. It is an option if a woman can't have any surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy that aims to cure the cancer.

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