Adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer.
ABSTRACT Endocrine therapy is a critical part of adjuvant therapy in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, and has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence and death from breast cancer. For decades, 5 years of tamoxifen has been the standard treatment. For premenopausal women, it remains so, and we await the results of ongoing trials to define the role of ovarian suppression or ablation with endocrine therapy. If a woman becomes postmenopausal during treatment, consideration should be given to extended adjuvant therapy with an aromatase inhibitor (AI) for another 5 years. In postmenopausal women, trials have shown that AIs are more beneficial than tamoxifen in preventing disease recurrence.They have been compared as upfront treatment for 5 years, as sequential therapy after 2 to 3 years of tamoxifen, and as extended treatment for 5 years after 5 years of tamoxifen. Among the questions still being studied are the optimal duration of extended adjuvant therapy with AIs, how one AI performs compared to another, and whether there is a benefit to intermittent extended adjuvant treatment.