A randomized, placebo-controlled trial (NCIC CTG MAP.2) examining the effects of exemestane on mammographic breast density, bone density, markers of bone metabolism and serum lipid levels in postmenopausal women

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Apr;126(2):453-61. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1322-0. Epub 2011 Jan 9.


We hypothesized that exemestane (EXE) would reduce mammographic breast density and have unique effects on biomarkers of bone and lipid metabolism. Healthy postmenopausal women were randomized to EXE (25 mg daily) or placebo (PLAC) for 12 months and followed for a total of 24 months. The primary endpoint was change in percent breast density (PD) between the baseline and 12-month mammograms and secondary endpoints were changes in serum lipid levels, bone biomarkers, and bone mineral density (BMD). Ninety-eight women were randomized (49 to EXE; 49 to PLAC) and 65 had PD data at baseline and 12 months. Among women treated with EXE, PD was not significantly changed from baseline at 6, 12, or 24 months and was not different from PLAC. EXE was associated with significant percentage increase from baseline in N-telopeptide at 12 months compared with PLAC. No differences in percent change from baseline in BMD (lumbar spine and femoral neck) were observed between EXE and PLAC at either 12 or 24 months. Patients on EXE had a significantly larger percent decrease in total cholesterol than in the PLAC arm at 6 months and in HDL cholesterol at 3, 6, and 12 months. No significant differences in percent change in LDL or triglycerides were noted at any time point between the two treatment arms. EXE administered for 1 year to healthy postmenopausal women did not result in significant changes in mammographic density. A reversible increase in the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide without significant change in bone specific alkaline phosphatase or BMD during the 12 months treatment period and 1 year later was noted. Changes in lipid parameters on this trial were modest and reversible.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Androstadienes / therapeutic use*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Breast / drug effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Collagen Type I / urine
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / urine
  • Postmenopause / metabolism*


  • Androstadienes
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Collagen Type I
  • Lipids
  • Peptides
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • exemestane