Endocrine Therapy in Premenopausal Hormone Receptor Positive/Human Epidermal Growth Receptor 2 Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer: Between Guidelines and Literature

Richard Tancredi, Jenny Furlanetto, Sibylle Loibl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is growing interest in the endocrine treatment (ET) of premenopausal women with hormone receptor positive (HR+) metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This review summarizes available data on endocrine therapy for this patient subset and aims to define the most appropriate treatment approach. The combination of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists plus tamoxifen seems effective and safe and is considered as being superior to either approach alone; still, single-agent therapy remains an acceptable treatment option. Due to their mechanism of action, aromatase inhibitors alone are not suitable for the treatment of premenopausal patients, but the combination with LHRH agonists may result in excellent disease control. Fulvestrant, in conjunction with LHRH agonists, also yields interesting results regarding clinical benefit rate and time to progression; currently, other orally available selective estrogen receptor downregulators are under clinical evaluation. Recently, targeted drugs have been added to ET in order to reverse endocrine resistance, but only limited information regarding their activity in premenopausal patients is available. The cyclin dependent kinase 4 and 6 inhibitor palbociclib when combined with fulvestrant and LHRH agonists was shown to prolong progression-free survival over endocrine therapy alone in pretreated patients; similar results were obtained with the addition of abemacicilib or ribociclib to endocrine therapy. Currently, activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor everolimus in combination with letrozole and goserelin is under assessment in premenopausal patients after progression on tamoxifen (MIRACLE trial). Implications for Practice: This review provides clinicians with an overview on the available data regarding endocrine treatment of hormone receptor positive (HR+) metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in premenopausal women and summarizes the treatment options available in routine clinical practice. Knowledge of an up-to-date therapeutic approach in women with premenopausal HR+ MBC will lead to better disease management, thereby improving disease control and quality of life while minimizing side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-981
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocrine therapy
  • Hormone receptor positive
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Premenopausal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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