Aromatase inhibitors are known to be effective in the treatment of advanced postmenopausal breast cancer. To assess the efficacy of the aromatase inhibitor 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OHA) as first-line treatment in patients who were either resistant to or had relapsed after adjuvant therapy, 50 eligible patients received intramuscular 4-OHA either 250 mg or 500 mg fortnightly until disease progression or severe adverse events. Of the 43 patients evaluable for clinical response (UICC criteria), 15 (36%) showed objective response (CR+PR), 6 (14%) stable disease (SD). In relation to disease site, objective responses were obtained in 55% of cases with soft tissue metastases ( 16 29); in 33% with visceral metastases (8/24), and in 24% with bone involvement ( 5 21). In relation to previous adjuvant treatment, there were eight objective responses among the 17 patients treated with chemotherapy (47%), and seven objective responses among the 24 treated with tamoxifen (29%). The treatment was well tolerated. These results support the hypothesis that adjuvant therapy, whether hormonal or chemotherapy, may make patients less responsive to subsequent treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas