Endocrine Therapy for Hormone Receptor-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Guideline

J Clin Oncol. 2016 Sep 1;34(25):3069-103. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.1487. Epub 2016 May 23.


Purpose: To develop recommendations about endocrine therapy for women with hormone receptor (HR) -positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

Methods: The American Society of Clinical Oncology convened an Expert Panel to conduct a systematic review of evidence from 2008 through 2015 to create recommendations informed by that evidence. Outcomes of interest included sequencing of hormonal agents, hormonal agents compared with chemotherapy, targeted biologic therapy, and treatment of premenopausal women. This guideline puts forth recommendations for endocrine therapy as treatment for women with HR-positive MBC.

Recommendations: Sequential hormone therapy is the preferential treatment for most women with HR-positive MBC. Except in cases of immediately life-threatening disease, hormone therapy, alone or in combination, should be used as initial treatment. Patients whose tumors express any level of hormone receptors should be offered hormone therapy. Treatment recommendations should be based on type of adjuvant treatment, disease-free interval, and organ function. Tumor markers should not be the sole criteria for determining tumor progression; use of additional biomarkers remains experimental. Assessment of menopausal status is critical; ovarian suppression or ablation should be included in premenopausal women. For postmenopausal women, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the preferred first-line endocrine therapy, with or without the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor palbociclib. As second-line therapy, fulvestrant should be administered at 500 mg with a loading schedule and may be administered with palbociclib. The mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor everolimus may be administered with exemestane to postmenopausal women with MBC whose disease progresses while receiving nonsteroidal AIs. Among patients with HR-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive MBC, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-targeted therapy plus an AI can be effective for those who are not chemotherapy candidates.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone