Joanne E. Mortimer, MD, FACP | Authors



Lessons Learned From the Use of ESAs

March 22, 2010

Dr. Bennett and colleagues have provided a thorough and balanced history of the rise and fall of erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) in cancer-associated anemia. Their review encourages us to think about the lessons learned from this history-lessons about medical progress, the importance of clinical research in guiding clinical practice, and the role of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in protecting patients

Commentary (Mortimer): Managing Early-Stage Breast Cancer in Your Older Patients

August 01, 2006

As the aging population in the United States continues to grow, the incidence of diseases of the elderly, such as breast cancer, are increasing. Many more elderly women are expected to be diagnosed with new breast cancers, most of them in an early stage. Appropriate treatment of these women is important, as they have poorer outcomes when undertreated. In this review, we will discuss the biology and treatment of early breast cancer in elderly women. We will focus on the role of comorbidity and its effect on life expectancy, treatment decisions, current recommendations for primary treatment with surgery, radiation and neoadjuvant strategies, and adjuvant treatment including local radiation therapy and systemic treatment with endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, and newer agents. Finally we will discuss the importance of clinical trials in the elderly.

Long-Term Toxicities of Selective Estrogen-Receptor Modulators and Antiaromatase Agents

May 01, 2003

Published literature indicates that the selective estrogen-receptormodulators (SERMs) tamoxifen and raloxifene (Evista) have favorableeffects on bone density, lipid profiles, and the incidence of secondbreast cancers, and unfavorable effects on the incidence of venousthrombosis and hot flushes. Tamoxifen increases the risk of endometrialcancer, but raloxifene does not. The effects of SERMs on sexualfunction and cognition are unclear. Because the selective antiaromataseagents are relatively new, the long-term effects of these agentson normal tissues are less well established. It appears that the nonsteroidalagents (anastrozole [Arimidex], letrozole [Femara]) and steroidal(exemestane [Aromasin]) antiaromatase agents may have differenteffects on normal tissues. Preliminary data demonstrate that anastrozoleincreases the risk of arthralgias and produces a decrease in bonedensity. In contrast, exemestane appears to favorably affect bonedensity and lipid profile, similar to tamoxifen and raloxifene. Theincidence of contralateral breast cancer is decreased in women onadjuvant anastrozole, but data for the other antiaromatase agents arenot yet available. Hot flushes have been reported with the use ofselective aromatase inhibitors, but their incidence seems to be comparableto what is reported with SERMs. Antiaromatase agents do notappear to cause venous thrombosis. More information about the effectsof the antiaromatase agents on normal tissue will become available asdata from ongoing adjuvant and chemoprevention trials are reported.Clinically, we should be conscious of the differences between antiaromataseagents and SERMs and their impact on women’s health.