Continuing Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy for 10 Years May Benefit Breast Cancer Patients — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 6, 2016

Continuing Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy for 10 Years May Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Among women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, 10 years of extended therapy with an aromatase inhibitor is associated with lower risk for subsequent breast cancer, according to a phase III trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting.

Researchers studied 1900 postmenopausal women whose breast cancer was successfully treated with 4–6 years of aromatase inhibitor therapy. Roughly 80% received tamoxifen up front. Patients were randomized to receive daily letrozole or placebo for an additional 5 years.

The primary endpoint — the 5-year rate of disease-free survival — was higher in the letrozole group than the placebo group (95% vs. 91%), while overall survival rates were similar. Risk for contralateral breast cancer was lower in the treatment group (1.4% vs. 3.2%). However, letrozole users had higher rates of incident osteoporosis (11% vs. 6%).

Editorialists write: "The beneficial effects of increasing disease-free survival, with a favorable toxicity profile for continuing the aromatase inhibitor letrozole for 5 additional years, are reassuring, and the findings have direct application for clinical practice."

Reader Comments (1)

H ROBERT SILVESTEIN Physician, Internal Medicine, Preventive Medicine Center

This has the ring of truth to it. HRS, MD, FACC

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