Insights on adjuvant endocrine therapy for premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2007 Sep;7(9):1243-53. doi: 10.1586/14737140.7.9.1243.


In 2005, cancer accounted for 13% of all deaths worldwide. Breast cancer is the number-one cause of cancer-related death among women in the USA, affecting 178,480 of them in 2007. As 75% of tumors in postmenopausal women and half in premenopausal women express estrogen receptor, endocrine therapy plays a significant role as a systemic treatment. Robust datasets have demonstrated the impact of tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer recurrence and mortality, regardless of the age of the patient. Other estrogen-deprivation strategies, such as aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists in premenopausal women, are being increasingly used for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This review discusses basic principles regarding endocrine therapy, the need for accurate estrogen receptor testing and the role of menopause in therapy selection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postmenopause / drug effects*
  • Postmenopause / metabolism
  • Premenopause / drug effects*
  • Premenopause / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal