Anastrozole: a review of its use in postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer.

PMID 18547136


Anastrozole (Arimidex) is an aromatase inhibitor approved in the EU, the US and in other countries worldwide for use as an adjuvant treatment in postmenopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It is also approved in the EU and other countries worldwide for continuing adjuvant treatment in women who have already had 2-3 years of adjuvant tamoxifen treatment for breast cancer. Anastrozole is an effective primary adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. In patients with hormone receptor-positive tumours, 5 years of anastrozole treatment was more efficacious in reducing breast cancer recurrence than 5 years of tamoxifen, both in a head-to-head comparison and in switching trials when given after 2-3 years of tamoxifen treatment. The treatment benefits have now been shown to extend to 100 months following breast surgery. To date, overall survival was better in anastrozole than tamoxifen recipients in one switching trial and in a meta-analysis of three switching trials. There was no increased benefit in health-related quality of life with anastrozole over tamoxifen. In women who had received 5 years of tamoxifen treatment, continuation of treatment with anastrozole further reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Ongoing head-to-head trials against other third-generation aromatase inhibitors will provide data as to its relative efficacy against these agents. Anastrozole is a generally well tolerated treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Like other aromatase inhibitors, its most important adverse effect was an increased risk of bone fractures, which for anastrozole was restricted to the treatment period. It is still unclear whether primary adjuvant treatment extended beyond 5 years is of benefit and whether primary adjuvant treatment with anastrozole for 5 years is preferable to switching to anastrozole after 2-3 years of tamoxifen treatment. However, the evidence to date establishes anastrozole as a valuable adjuvant and extended adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer.

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Y0001522 Anastrozole, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard