Hormonal therapy has been shown to be very effective in reducing the risk of hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer coming back (recurring) in postmenopausal women. To reduce the risk of recurrence, hormonal therapy medicines usually are taken for 5 years after the main treatment is completed. Taking medicine after the main treatment is done is known as adjuvant therapy.
Aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex (chemical name: anastrazole), Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane), and Femara (chemical name: letrozole) have been shown to be more effective than tamoxifen, an older hormonal therapy medicine.
In this study, Femara was shown to be more effective than tamoxifen in reducing the risk of breast cancer coming back. All the women in this study had early-stage breast cancer. Two groups of women got the most benefit from Femara:
- women with lymph-node-positive breast cancer at diagnosis
- women who received chemotherapy as part of their main treatment
The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that aromatase inhibitors can help reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back in postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer.