Aromatase inhibitors (AI) profoundly suppress estrogen levels in postmenopausal women and are effective in breast cancer prevention among high-risk postmenopausal women. Unfortunately, AI treatment is associated with undesirable side effects that limit patient acceptance for primary prevention of breast cancer. A double-blind, randomized trial was conducted to determine whether low and intermittent doses of letrozole can achieve effective estrogen suppression with a more favorable side-effect profile. Overall, 112 postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer were randomized to receive letrozole at 2.5 mg once daily (QD, standard dose arm), 2.5 mg every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (Q-MWF), 1.0 mg QMWF, or 0.25 mg Q-MWF for 24 weeks. Primary endpoint was suppression in serum estradiol levels at the end of letrozole intervention. Secondary endpoints included changes in serum estrone, testosterone, C-telopeptide (marker of bone resorption), lipid profile, and quality-of-life measures (QoL) following treatment. Significant estrogen suppression was observed in all dose arms with an average of 75% to 78% and 86% to 93% reduction in serum estradiol and estrone levels, respectively. There were no differences among dose arms with respect to changes in C-telopeptide levels, lipid profile, adverse events (AE), or QoL measures. We conclude that low and intermittent doses of letrozole are not inferior to standard dose in estrogen suppression and resulted in a similar side-effect profile compared with standard dose. Further studies are needed to determine the feasibility of selecting an effective AI dosing schedule with better tolerability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research