Alternative dosing of exemestane in postmenopausal women with ER-positive breast cancer. Design and methods of a randomized presurgical trial

Aliana Guerrieri-Gonzaga, Davide Serrano, Parjhitham Thomas, Katherine D Crew, Nagi B Kumar, Sara Gandini, Lana A Vornik, Jack Lee, Sara Cagnacci, Elisa Vicini, Chiara A Accornero, Mauro D'Amico, Flavio Guasone, Stefano Spinaci, Tania B Webber, Powel H Brown, Eva Szabo, Brandy Heckman-Stoddard, Bernardo Bonanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Aromatase inhibitors are effective in lowering breast cancer incidence among postmenopausal women, but adverse events represent a barrier to their acceptability and adherence as a preventive treatment. This study aims to assess whether lowering exemestane schedule may retain biological activity while improving tolerability in breast cancer patients.

METHODS/DESIGN: We are conducting a, pre-surgical, non-inferiority phase IIb study in postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Participants are randomized to receive either exemestane 25 mg/day or 25 mg/three times-week or once a week for 4 to 6 weeks prior to surgery. The primary endpoint is the percentage change of serum estradiol concentration between baseline and surgery comparing the three arms. Sample size of 180 women was calculated assuming a 6% non-inferiority of the percent change of estradiol in the lower dose arms compared with the 80% decrease predicted in the full dose arm, with 80% power and using a one-sided 5% significance level and a two-sample t-test. Main secondary outcomes are: safety; change in Ki-67 in cancer and adjacent pre-cancer tissue, circulating sex hormones, adipokines, lipid profile, insulin and glucose changes, in correlation with drug and metabolites concentrations.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The present paper is focused on methodology and operational aspects of the study. A total of 180 participants have ben enrolled. The trial is still blinded, and the analyses are ongoing. Despite the short term duration, results may have relevant implications for clinical management of women at increased risk of developing a ER positive breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106498
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Androstadienes
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Breast Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postmenopause


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