A comparative study between different hormonal treatments, based on anti-aromatases and / or anti-estrogens, shows that their effectiveness in the fight against the recurrence of breast cancer is similar in menopausal women.
75% of breast cancer cases occur after 50 years. Hormone therapy is one of the possible treatments. In menopausal women, what is called an anti-aromatase is prescribed to combat the effects of hormones. Researchers have compared the effectiveness of different anti-aromatase treatments in post-breast cancer treatment. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Naples in Italy and published in The Lancet.
Different mechanics of treatment
Anti-aromatases help stop the growth of cancer cells. Specifically, they act on aromatases, enzymes that allow androgens to turn into estrogen in menopausal women. But these have the ability to grow cancer cells.
In France, the most commonly used anti-aromatases are letrozole, anastrozole and exemestane. In contrast, anti-estrogens block the effects of estrogen on cancer cells. The most common is tamoxifen, it can be used in menopausal women or not. However, these treatments have many side effects: hot flushes, ovarian cysts or endometrial abnormalities.
Little recurrence after 5 years
3,697 women participated in the study between 2007 and 2012. The patients all had breast cancer treated by surgery. Italian researchers compared two treatment strategies: one upstream and the other substitution. For the first, one of the three anti-aromatases was administered for 5 years. For the second, the patient received an anti-estrogen for two years and one of three anti-aromatases. The survival rate without recurrence after 5 years is 88.5% for the substitution strategy and 89.8% for the other.
Between the different anti-aromatases, the researchers observe little difference in effectiveness. With anastrozole, the survival rate without recurrence after 5 years is 90%, 88% with exemestane, and 89.4% with letrozole. For researchers, this means that in order to choose the treatment, it is the patient's will and the tolerance of the treatment by the patient that must count.