Femara® and the future: tailoring treatment and combination therapies with Femara

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Long-term estrogen deprivation treatment for breast cancer can, in some patients, lead to the activation of alternate cellular pathways, resulting in the reemergence of the disease. This is a distressing scenario for oncologists and patients, but recent intensive molecular and biochemical studies are beginning to unravel these pathways, revealing opportunities for new targeted treatments. Far from making present therapies redundant, these new discoveries open the door to novel combination therapies that promise to provide enhanced efficacy or overcome treatment resistance. Letrozole, one of the most potent aromatase inhibitors, is the ideal candidate for combination therapy; indeed, it is one of the most intensively studied aromatase inhibitors in the evolving combinatorial setting. Complementary to the use of combination therapy is the development of molecular tools to identify patients who will benefit the most from these new treatments. Microarray gene profiling studies, designed to detect letrozole-responsive targets, are currently under way to understand how the use of the drug can be tailored more efficiently to specific patient needs.

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