Fulvestrant 500 mg versus anastrozole 1 mg for the first-line treatment of advanced breast cancer: follow-up analysis from the randomized 'FIRST' study

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Nov;136(2):503-11. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2192-4. Epub 2012 Oct 13.


Fulvestrant fIRst-line Study comparing endocrine Treatments is a phase II, randomized, open-label study comparing fulvestrant 500 mg with anastrozole 1 mg as first-line endocrine therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) advanced breast cancer. At data cut-off, only 36 % of patients had progressed and the median time to progression (TTP) had not been reached for fulvestrant. Here, we report follow-up data for TTP for fulvestrant 500 mg versus anastrozole 1 mg. Key inclusion criteria were postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive and/or progesterone receptor-positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer and no prior endocrine therapy. Key exclusion criteria were presence of life-threatening metastases and prior treatment with a non-approved drug. Fulvestrant was administered 500 mg/month plus 500 mg on day 14 of month 1; anastrozole was administered 1 mg/day. TTP was defined by modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.0 before data cut-off for the primary analysis, and investigator opinion after data cut-off. Best overall response to subsequent therapy and serious adverse events are also reported. In total, 205 patients received fulvestrant 500 mg (n = 102) or anastrozole (n = 103). Follow-up analysis was performed when 79.5 % of patients had discontinued study treatment. Median TTP was 23.4 months for fulvestrant versus 13.1 months for anastrozole; a 34 % reduction in risk of progression (hazard ratio 0.66; 95 % confidence interval: 0.47, 0.92; P = 0.01). Best overall response to subsequent therapy and clinical benefit rate for subsequent endocrine therapy was similar between the treatment groups. No new safety concerns for fulvestrant 500 mg were documented. These longer-term, follow-up results confirm efficacy benefit for fulvestrant 500 mg versus anastrozole as first-line endocrine therapy for HR+ advanced breast cancer in terms of TTP, and, importantly, show similar best overall response rates to subsequent endocrine therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anastrozole
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / adverse effects
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fulvestrant
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nitriles / administration & dosage*
  • Nitriles / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Triazoles / adverse effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Nitriles
  • Triazoles
  • Fulvestrant
  • Anastrozole
  • Estradiol