Steroidal aromatase inhibitors in elderly patients

Emilio Bajetta, Nicoletta Zilembo, Ettore Bichisao, Paola Pozzi, Luisa Toffolatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The choice of treatment for elderly breast cancer patients needs particular care because the presence of physiological functional impairments can modify the drug bioavailability in an unpredictable manner. Hormonal treatment remains one of the choices and, although tamoxifen has proved to be effective in any setting, the use of selective aromatase inhibitors is arousing. Depending on their chemical structure, aromatase inhibitors are either steroidal (such as exemestane and formestane) or non-steroidal (such as letrozole, vorozole and anastrozole). Formestane has been studied in elderly patients with breast cancer and has been found to induce an overall response rate of 51% (95% CI, 35-67%). The drug suppresses estradiol (E2) levels, and changes in other hormones (FSH, LH and SHBG) are observed, but with poor clinical significance, thus confirming its selectivity and potency. Formestane has also been demonstrated to be as effective as tamoxifen. Exemestane and non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors appear to be very promising drugs. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Aromatase inhibitors
  • Elderly patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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