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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Exemestane: a review of its use in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer.

Exemestane is an orally active irreversible steroidal aromatase inactivator that effectively suppresses in vivo aromatase activity and circulating estrogen levels in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer. In clinical trials, tumour responses were elicited by exemestane regardless of disease site, importantly, in patients with visceral disease. In patients with disease refractory to tamoxifen, once daily exemestane 25 mg produced objective response rates of 15 to 28% that were sustained for a median duration of 69 to 76 weeks. In a large comparative study, exemestane and megestrol showed similar clinical efficacy according to objective response and overall success rates. However, the duration of overall success and times to disease progression and treatment failure were significantly prolonged with exemestane compared with megestrol. Additionally, a significant survival advantage for exemestane over megestrol was reported. Exemestane retains efficacy in patients refractory to multiple hormonal therapies. In patients whose disease had progressed after tamoxifen and megestrol, objective response rates of 11 and 13% were reported, and responses were similar regardless of whether megestrol resistance was de novo or acquired. Objective responses also occurred in studies that explored sequential use of exemestane after failure of aminoglutethimide (26% with exemestane 200 mg/day) or other nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors (6.6% with exemestane 25 mg/day). Additionally, tumour responses (objective response 6.1%, overall success rate 24.7%) were reported in patients who had not responded to their last hormonal treatment. As first-line treatment, once daily exemestane 25 mg elicited objective and overall success rates of 42 and 58%, compared with 16 and 31% for once daily tamoxifen 20 mg. Exemestane was generally well tolerated in clinical trials at once daily dosages up to 600 mg. At the 25 mg recommended once daily dosage, the most commonly occurring adverse events were nausea, hot flushes, fatigue, increased sweating and dizziness. Weight gain occurred in significantly more patients receiving megestrol than among those treated with exemestane. Androgenic events have been reported in a small number of patients receiving once daily exemestane 200 mg, but were rarely reported at the recommended dosage. Conclusions: Exemestane is effective in postmenopausal patients with tamoxifen-refractory advanced breast cancer, prolonging time to disease progression and treatment failure and improving survival compared with megestrol treatment. Moreover, exemestane has an acceptable tolerability profile and a convenient once daily oral dosage regimen. Available data indicate that exemestane maintains its efficacy in patients with visceral metastases and does not show cross-resistance with nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. Preliminary data indicate that exemestane is also effective as first-line therapy for advanced breast cancer.[1]


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