Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

  • Amelia B. Zelnak
  • Ruth M. O'Regan
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 141)

Adjuvant hormonal therapy is standard treatment for all patients with hormone receptor-positive early stage breast cancer following primary surgery. Hormonal therapy benefits patients whose breast cancer expresses estrogen or progesterone receptors, but not those with hormone receptor-negative disease.1 The goal of adjuvant hormonal therapy is to prevent breast cancer cells from receiving endogenous estrogen stimulation. There are multiple options for adjuvant hormonal therapy in early-stage breast cancer patients.

Beatson first observed the role of estrogen deprivation in treatment of breast cancer over 100 years ago after observing the regression of advanced breast cancer following oophorectomy. After Beatson’s historic observation, ovarian ablation by either oophorectomy or irradiation became standard for patients with advanced breast cancer. Ovarian ablation has gradually been replaced by pharmacologic hormone therapy. Selective estrogen receptor modulators such as tamoxifen block the action of estrogen at the estrogen receptor. Luteinizing hormonereleasing hormone agonists act centrally to suppress estrogen synthesis, and aromatase inhibitors prevent the peripheral conversion of androgens to estrogen leading to estrogen deprivation. Recommendations for adjuvant hormonal therapy for pre -and postmenopausal early-stage breast cancer patients will be discussed in this chapter.


Breast Cancer Bone Mineral Density Aromatase Inhibitor Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy Adjuvant Tamoxifen 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amelia B. Zelnak
    • 1
  • Ruth M. O'Regan
    • 1
  1. 1.Winship Cancer CenterEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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