Exemestane may provide post-surgery option for postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer

December 08, 2015

"The three available aromatase inhibitors are due to come off patent and these results provide another alternative for the most commonly prescribed medication for breast cancer globally," he said.

The good news for patients is how well women in this trial did, with a reported 91 percent overall survival rate after more than four years of follow-up, according to Goss. "The results are likely as a result of a combination of many advances including screening, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and endocrine therapy," he said.

Initially, the researcher's clinical trial also included investigating the role of a COX-2 inhibitor called celecoxib when used in combination with the aromatase inhibitors. Less than two years into this seven-year trial, this portion of the study was discontinued because of concerns about heart problems associated with COX-2 inhibitors. A total of 1,635 women had received celecoxib at that time.

COX-2 inhibitors are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce inflammation by blocking COX-2 enzyme, which is responsible for the pain and swelling associated with inflammation. They are also produced in response to precancerous and cancerous tissues.

"Therefore, the value of COX-2 inhibitors in reducing breast cancer recurrence remains unanswered," said Goss.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research