Treatment with aromatase inhibitors and markers of cardiovascular disease

Eva Blondeaux, Debora Musio, Paolo Bruzzi, Matteo Lambertini, Valerio Gazzola, Francesca Poggio, Stefania Vecchio, Alessia Levaggi, Alessia D’Alonzo, Maria Cecilia Perfumo, Claudia Bighin, Sara Giraudi, Domenico Palombo, Lucia Del Mastro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The cardiovascular effects of estrogen deprivation induced by aromatase inhibitors are unknown. We carried out a cross-sectional study to evaluate the effect of estrogen deprivation induced by aromatase inhibitors on markers of cardiovascular risk. Methods: We enrolled 410 postmenopausal women: 200 consecutive breast cancer patients treated with aromatase inhibitors for a median of 53 months (range 23–122) and 210 volunteer controls. Carotid intima-media thickness, presence of carotid stenosis, and presence of abdominal aortic aneurism were evaluated through an ultrasound examination. Results: Average carotid intima-media thickness was 0.97 ± 0.02 mm and 1.08 ± 0.02 mm for breast cancer group and control group, respectively (p < 0.005). The incidence of carotid stenosis in the two groups was similar: 24.2 % in the breast cancer group and 28.6 % in the control group (OR 0.80; 95 % CI 0.51–1.25; p = 0.32). No aneurismatic dilatation of the aorta was recorded. Average abdominal aortic diameter was 14.9 ± 2.4 mm in the breast cancer group and 15.0 ± 2.4 mm in the control group. Conclusions: Our study showed no association between treatment with aromatase inhibitors for five or less years and increased carotid intima-media thickness and higher prevalence of carotid stenosis or abdominal aortic aneurism. The lack of impact on these markers suggests that cardiovascular risk is not increased by treatment with aromatase inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Aromatase inhibitor
  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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