ARIMIDEX is a potent and selective aromatase inhibitor undergoing evaluation as a treatment for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer. Studies examining the pharmacology of ARIMIDEX were conducted in both animals and humans. In animals, ARIMIDEX elicits maximal aromatase suppressive activity at a dose of approx. 0.1 mg/kg, does not alter adrenal steroid hormone biosynthesis, and at a dose of 1 mg/kg, has no other pharmacologic effects other than aromatase inhibition. In this overview, the pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, and safety profiles of single and multiple daily doses of ARIMIDEX are reported in humans. Daily doses of 1-10 mg of ARIMIDEX suppressed estradiol levels to the maximum degree measurable using sensitive estrogen assays. ARIMIDEX had no clinically significant effects on the response of cortisol and aldosterone to ACTH stimulation. Absorption of ARIMIDEX was rapid, with maximum plasma concentrations occurring within 2 h after oral administration. Plasma concentrations of ARIMIDEX rose with increasing doses of the drug. The elimination half-life of ARIMIDEX in humans ranged from 30 to 60 h. Consistent with the long plasma half-life, steady state plasma concentrations were 3-4-fold higher than plasma concentrations observed after single administration of 1, 3, 5, or 10 mg doses. Long term treatment of breast cancer patients with 10 mg/day has continued in 17 patients without an escape of estradiol suppression. Previously, these patients had received on average 2.6 systemic treatments for breast cancer and had significant metastatic disease. Three of the 17 patients continued ARIMIDEX treatment for 20 months and beyond. Given the number of previous treatments and tumor burden at the start of treatment, the response to ARIMIDEX treatment is encouraging. Phase III studies are now underway to assess the efficacy and safety of ARIMIDEX in the treatment of advanced breast cancer.