Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 295–310

Aromatase inhibitor therapy: toxicities and management strategies in the treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer

  • Susan F. Dent
  • Rania Gaspo
  • Michelle Kissner
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1351-3

Cite this article as:
Dent, S.F., Gaspo, R., Kissner, M. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2011) 126: 295. doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1351-3


Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence and are widely used today as adjuvant therapy in women with early stage endocrine-responsive breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors may be prescribed as initial hormonal therapy, sequentially following 2–3 years of tamoxifen, or as extended adjuvant therapy (following 5 years of tamoxifen). Aromatase inhibitors are generally well tolerated; however, certain side effects, particularly arthralgia/musculoskeletal symptoms and gynecologic effects, may result in poor adherence to treatment. Patients receiving adjuvant therapy with an AI should be counseled regarding possible side effects and the importance of completing treatment. Interventions to ameliorate side effects should be individualized based on symptoms, comorbid conditions, and pre-existing therapies. In addition, bone and cardiovascular health should be monitored during AI therapy. Prompt therapeutic management of common side effects associated with AIs may provide patients with the opportunity to receive the full benefit of their adjuvant hormonal treatment while minimizing toxicity.


Aromatase inhibitors Arthralgia Bone mineral density Cardiovascular Cognitive Gynecologic 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan F. Dent
    • 1
  • Rania Gaspo
    • 2
  • Michelle Kissner
    • 3
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard
    • 4
  1. 1.The Ottawa Hospital Cancer CentreThe University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Pfizer Canada Inc.KirklandCanada
  3. 3.Medical InformationPfizer Inc.New YorkUSA
  4. 4.Sunnybrook Odette Cancer CentreThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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