Breast cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide. While aminoglutethimide, a first-generation aromatase inhibitor, has equivalent efficacy to first-line tamoxifen in the palliative treatment of metastatic breast cancer, its toxicity profile has relegated this drug to a second- or third-line agent in this setting. Recently, several aromatase inhibitors have been released onto the market while others are in phase II and III clinical trials.Aim:
To review the role of the new aromatase inhibitors in the management of metastatic breast cancer.Methods:
Current literature, abstracts from meetings and information from pharmaceutical manufacturers have been summarized.Content:
A review of the clinical pharmacology of the new aromatase inhibitors has been provided in addition to a synopsis of phase III clinical studies.Conclusion:
The newer aromatase inhibitors have several advantages compared to aminoglutethimide and are a useful addition to the armamentarium of therapies employed in the palliative management of advanced breast cancer.