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Quality of life issues in relation to the aromatase inhibitor

By L Fallowfield


Maturing data from aromatase inhibitor (AI) trials reveal benefits to many women who might otherwise have relapsed and died from breast cancer. In advanced disease the case for the use of AIs is well established but in the adjuvant and chemoprevention settings some worries about long-term safety remain. Large numbers of women may already be cured by surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy making further adjuvant treatment unnecessary. In chemoprevention the ratio of risks to putative benefits remains very unclear, so results from major trials are needed to clarify. When making decisions about treatment women need information about: the available options, likely therapeutic gains, predicted side-effects and convenience of treatment. Adherence is then dependent on the actual burden experienced and impact on QoL. Healthcare professionals often underestimate non-life-threatening but QoL-threatening side-effects, making treatments appear more favorable and acceptable during discussion about therapeutic options. It was hoped that AIs would enhance efficacy without producing unacceptable side-effects that diminish QoL and reduce adherence. Recently published results from the QoL sub-protocols of ATAC, IES and MA-17, looking at anastrozole, exemestane and letrozole, respectively, provide useful indications about the QoL associated with AIs. More information gained from longer-term patient follow-up and preference studies are needed to help clinicians making treatment recommendations and to assist development of ameliorative interventions needed to accompany the most efficacious therapies

Topics: R1, RC0254
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
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