Oral Selective Estrogen Receptor Degraders (SERDs) as a Novel Breast Cancer Therapy: Present and Future from a Clinical Perspective

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 22;22(15):7812. doi: 10.3390/ijms22157812.


Estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) is the most common subtype of breast cancer. Endocrine therapy is the fundamental treatment against this entity, by directly or indirectly modifying estrogen production. Recent advances in novel compounds, such as cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i), or phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors have improved progression-free survival and overall survival in these patients. However, some patients still develop endocrine resistance after or during endocrine treatment. Different underlying mechanisms have been identified as responsible for endocrine treatment resistance, where ESR1 gene mutations are one of the most studied, outstanding from others such as somatic alterations, microenvironment involvement and epigenetic changes. In this scenario, selective estrogen receptor degraders/downregulators (SERD) are one of the weapons currently in research and development against aromatase inhibitor- or tamoxifen-resistance. The first SERD to be developed and approved for ER+ breast cancer was fulvestrant, demonstrating also interesting activity in ESR1 mutated patients in the second line treatment setting. Recent investigational advances have allowed the development of new oral bioavailable SERDs. This review describes the evolution and ongoing studies in SERDs and new molecules against ER, with the hope that these novel drugs may improve our patients' future landscape.

Keywords: SERD; breast cancer; endocrine therapy; hormone therapy; luminal breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators