Purpose of review: Endocrine therapy for breast cancer has been the cornerstone of treatment for over a century since the discovery of the regressive effect of oophorectomy on ‘cancer of the mamma’ in 1896 by Beatson. Studies in the prevention and treatment of both early and metastatic breast cancer will be reviewed with a focus on recent large randomized clinical trials that may be practice changing.
Recent findings: Data from pivotal clinical trials that looked at the duration of adjuvant tamoxifen therapy in premenopausal women will be discussed. In addition, several recent clinical trials that address the optimal sequence of endocrine therapy and advances in the treatment of endocrine-resistant metastatic disease will be reviewed. New findings from molecular studies that demonstrate targets in the endocrine axis and the role of aromatase inhibitors in the prevention setting will be highlighted.
Summary: Overall, these clinical trials show the benefit of aromatase inhibitors in the prevention setting, longer duration of tamoxifen in the adjuvant setting for premenopausal women, and new biologic agents with hormonal therapies.