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Aromatization inhibition alone or in combination with GnRH agonists for the treatment of premenopausal breast cancer patients

, : Aromatization inhibition alone or in combination with GnRH agonists for the treatment of premenopausal breast cancer patients. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43(1-3): 155-159

Aromatase inhibition in postmenopausal women causes a marked fall in the plasma levels of oestrogens and is an effective treatment for breast cancer, however, trials with aminoglutethimide found that this aromatase inhibitor was ineffective in suppressing plasma oestrogen levels in premenopausal breast cancer patients. We found that the more potent inhibitor, 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OHA), which can suppress oestrogen synthesis in rodents and non-human primates with intact ovarian function, was also unsuccessful as an oestrogen suppressant in premenopausal women at its maximum tolerated dose (500 mg/week i.m.). GnRH agonists are effective suppressants of ovarian oestrogen synthesis but oestrogen production from peripheral sites is unaffected. Our studies of a combination of the GnRH agonist goserelin and 4-OHA demonstrated that the combination caused greater oestrogen suppression than goserelin alone and led to objective clinical response in 4/6 breast cancer patients after their relapse from treatment with goserelin as a single agent. The combination of a GnRH agonist and an aromatase inhibitor should be subjected to clinical trials.


PMID: 1388047

DOI: 10.1016/0960-0760(92)90201-S

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