Tolerance of adjuvant letrozole outside of clinical trialsTolerance of adjuvant letrozole outside of clinical trials
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute (VAXINFECTIO)
Molecular Imaging, Pathology, Radiotherapy & Oncology (MIPRO)
17(2008):4, p. 376-381
University of Antwerp
Recently aromatase inhibitors have become a standard care as an adjuvant treatment for many postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive early breast cancer. Adjuvant letrozole was made available either immediately postoperative, after 2-3 years of tamoxifen, or as an extended treatment after 5 years of tamoxifen. Between October 2003 and October 2005, we analyzed the subjective tolerence in 185 postoperative early breast cancer patients receiving letrozole outside of a clinical trial. The most prominent toxicity was musculoskeletal pain. In addition hot flushes, increased fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, mood disturbances, vaginal dryness, hair loss and rash were also recorded. In contrast to the prospective randomized clinical trials, a high drop-out rate of 20% was documented, mainly due to aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia syndrome interfering significantly with the daily life of our patients. Although adjuvant aromatase inhibitors have proven to be generally superior to tamoxifen in the adjuvant setting, it is important to focus attention on the tolerance during the adjuvant therapy and to balance this against the potential benefit in individual patients. Alternative options including switching to tamoxifen remain available.