Clinical studies with letrozole

  • J. Michael Dixon
Part of the Milestones in Drug Therapy book series (MDT)


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and a leading cause of cancer death [1]. In 2000, approximately 130,000 women died of breast cancer; nearly two thirds of these women were postmenopausal [1]. Current treatment options for breast cancer depend on disease characteristics (e.g., stage, sites of any metastases, hormone receptor status), patient characteristics (e.g., age, menopausal status), and patient preferences. Early breast cancer is usually treated with a combination of local (surgery/radiation) and systemic (cytotoxic/endocrine) therapies. Women with inoperable or large operable tumours may be given pre-operative or neoadjuvant therapy to shrink the tumours before surgery. Following tumour removal, patients remain at risk for recurrence; the risk for early recurrence peaks during the first few years postsurgery, and distant metastases constitute the majority of early relapse events [2, 3]. Patients generally receive adjuvant chemotherapy and/or endocrine therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence. Tamoxifen had been the standard adjuvant endocrine treatment in women with hormone-responsive tumours, but it is now being replaced by third-generation aromatase inhibitors [4]. Following 5 years of adjuvant tamoxifen treatment, patients remain at substantial risk of recurrence [2, 5]. In fact, over half of all breast cancer recurrences and deaths occur after 5 years of tamoxifen [5].


Breast Cancer Postmenopausal Woman Clin Oncol Aromatase Inhibitor Advanced Breast Cancer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Michael Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Edinburgh Breast UnitWestern General HospitalEdinburghUK

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