Breast cancer research and treatment

A review of the efficacy of anastrozole in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer with visceral metastases.

PMID 14703069


Tumors that have spread to the liver or lungs (visceral metastases) are associated with a worse prognosis than tumors in soft tissue and bone only. Here we review available efficacy data to address whether or not anastrozole, a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor (AI), is effective in postmenopausal patients with advanced breast cancer (ABC) and visceral metastases. We include data from Phase III clinical trials, comparing clinical benefit (CB) with anastrozole versus tamoxifen as a first-line treatment, and versus megestrol acetate (MA) or fulvestrant as a second-line therapy. Patients in these trials had adequate organ function and the volume of disease had to be minimal or moderate for them to be eligible for inclusion. First-line treatment of patients with or without visceral metastases in the overall population resulted in CB rates of 49.5 and 62.3%, respectively, for anastrozole and 46.9 and 55.9%, respectively, for tamoxifen. In patients with confirmed hormone receptor (HR)-positive tumors, the CB rate was 51.9 and 65.7%, respectively, for anastrozole and 41.6 and 58.7%, respectively, for tamoxifen. In patients with or without visceral metastases, second-line treatment with anastrozole resulted in a CB rate of 31.4 and 51.8%, respectively, compared with 31.9 and 47.1%, respectively, for those treated with MA. Patients in the overall population with and without visceral metastases treated with anastrozole obtained a CB rate of 37.4 and 43.8%, respectively, while those treated with fulvestrant obtained a CB rate of 38.2 and 47.6%, respectively. In patients with confirmed HR-positive tumors, CB was seen in 37.6 and 41.5%, respectively, of patients treated with anastrozole and in 37.3 and 47.0%, respectively, of patients treated with fulvestrant. The results reveal anastrozole to be an effective and valuable first- and second-line therapy in postmenopausal women with ABC and visceral metastases, showing similar CB to other endocrine therapies.

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