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New Breast Cancer Treatment Available for Women Who Do Not Respond to Tamoxifen

New Breast Cancer Treatment Available for Women Who Do Not Respond to Tamoxifen

The first oral aromatase inactivator for the treatment of postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer whose tumors have stopped responding to tamoxifen (Nolvadex) therapy is now available in the United States. Pharmacia & Upjohn announced that the agent, exemestane (Aromasin), which has been in use in Europe, is now available in the United States.

Unlike currently available agents, exemestane is the first oral hormonal therapy that binds irreversibly to the aromatase enzyme, an action that interferes with the supply of estrogen to the cancerous tumors that are dependent on the hormone.

This unique mechanism of action has prompted a cooperative cancer study group to begin further study of exemestane, according to the manufacturer. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) recently concluded a randomized phase II trial of exemestane vs tamoxifen as first-line hormonal therapy in postmenopausal breast cancer patients. Data from this trial have been submitted to the American Society of Clinical Oncology for consideration for its annual meeting.

More About Exemestane

Pharmacia & Upjohn gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for exemestane late in 1999. The agent is currently available in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Nordic countries.

Like other hormonal therapies, exemestane should not be administered to women who are premenopausal or coadministered with estrogen-containing agents that can interfere with its action. Adverse events associated with exemestane are typically mild to moderate and include hot flashes, nausea, and fatigue.

For more information, call the Patient Product Services (HOT) line at (888) 691-6813 or visit the Pharmacia & Upjohn web site at www.pnu.com.

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