The optimal duration of adjuvant endocrine therapy for early stage breast cancer - With what drugs and for how long? Academic Article uri icon


  • Adjuvant endocrine therapy has made a significant impact in improving overall survival for women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer. The anti-estrogen tamoxifen is the most widely used therapy, although in post-menopausal women, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have further improved outcomes either as an alternative to tamoxifen for 5 years, or given in sequential fashion following initial tamoxifen therapy. However, late recurrence remains perhaps the biggest risk in HR-positive breast cancer, with more than half all recurrences occurring beyond 5 years since primary diagnosis. As such, the current debate is whether extended AI or prolonged tamoxifen therapy should be given, and if so, to whom. We review some of the recent studies that have addressed this question and demonstrated further reduction in risk of recurrence, and discuss the clinical issues that face women and their health care providers in determining who should use which drug, and for how long.

publication date

  • 2014