tamoxifen versus aromatase inhibitors

A recent study of breast cancer patients has compared the effectiveness of tamoxifen versus aromatase inhibitors.


A recent study comparing aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen has been reported on this month in the Lancet. The study, conducted by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group, included over 30 000 postmenopausal women who were diagnosed with early, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

The study reported better results after five years of treatment with aromatase inhibitors compared with five years of tamoxifen, when assessing recurrence during the first 4 years. In addition, the rate of breast cancer mortality after ten years was lower with aromatase inhibitors, compared to tamoxifen.

The study also assessed treatment with aromatase inhibitors for five years, compared to a treatment schedule consisting of 2-3 years of tamoxifen, followed by aromatase inhibitor treatment through to the fifth year. In these analyses, the study also reported better results with aromatase inhibitors, demonstrating fewer recurrences in the 5-year aromatase group. However, in these analyses, the difference in breast cancer mortality did not significantly differ between groups.

The study also reported fewer diagnoses of endometrial cancers in the aromatase inhibitor treatment groups compared with the tamoxifen treatment group.

The study concluded that five years of treatment with an aromatase inhibitor reduced the 10-year breast cancer mortality rates by approximately 15% when compared with 5-years of tamoxifen treatment.



Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) “Aromatase inhibitors versus tamoxifen in early breast cancer: patient-level meta-analysis of the randomised trials” Lancet, Online First DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61074-1

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net






Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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