Adjuvant endocrine therapy for premenopausal women with breast cancer

Shannon Puhalla, Adam Brufsky, Nancy Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Aims: Endocrine therapy is a pivotal treatment for women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. In premenopausal women, endocrine therapy primarily consists of tamoxifen and ovarian suppressive strategies. Younger women experience improvements in the risks of relapse or death from breast cancer with the use of chemotherapy as well, with part of this benefit explained by resultant premature amenorrhea. Unfortunately despite a centuries worth of clinical trials, the most efficacious combination of hormonal therapies and chemotherapy has yet to be determined. This paper serves as a comprehensive review of the substantial data in the adjuvant treatment of premenopausal, hormone receptor-positive women with breast cancer. Methods and Results: PubMed and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Proceedings searches from 1896 to present were performed. All of the trials examining the role of ovarian suppression and tamoxifen with and without chemotherapy in premenopausal women were included. The current data suggests that endocrine therapy can be an important alternative to chemotherapy in select patient populations, and improvements in outcome are also seen with the combination of hormonal and chemotherapy strategies in other populations. A majority of the trials examined did not use what is considered to be current standards of care regarding chemotherapy regimens and durations of adjuvant hormonal therapy. Many unanswered questions remain particularly regarding the combined use of ovarian suppression and tamoxifen in women who are also receiving chemotherapy. Conclusion: There is a persistent need to define optimal endocrine therapy in premenopasusal women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. Contemporaneous trials, such as the SOFT trial will provide direction, and additional biomarker and pharmacogenomic data will further supplement individualized patient decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S122-S130
Issue numberSUPPL.3
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Estrogen receptor
  • GNRH agonists
  • Ovarian suppression
  • Premenopausal breast cancer
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Adjuvant endocrine therapy for premenopausal women with breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this