Treatment of breast cancer with antiestrogen: approach to medical hypophysectomy?

A. Manni, J. Trujillo, J. Brodkey, J. S. Marshall, O. H. Pearson

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Abstract

Tamoxifen (ICI 46474), an antiestrogen, was given to 89 selected patients with stage IV breast cancer at a dose of 20 mg orally every 12 hours. Forty-seven percent of the patients had objective tumor regression averaging 11+ months with 25 of 42 women still in remission. In the first 39 patients where the minimum follow-up period is 16 months the average duration of remission is more than 15 months with 8 of 19 patients still in remission. These results are approaching those of surgical hypophysectomy, where, in our experience the average remission lasts about 18 months. Thus, Tamoxifen is a highly effective antitumor agent and is probably the initial treatment of choice for women with hormone responsive breast cancer. Antiestrogen induced objective remissions in 5 of 19 patients who had previously responded to surgical hypophysectomy, and 5 additional patients showed no progression of disease lasting 15+ months. Estradiol and estrone were detectable in the serum of these patients whereas, prolactin and growth hormone were not detectable. Thus, antiestrogen can induce remissions in some patients in the absence of the pituitary gland, and this constitutes additional palliation and provides evidence that estrogens can directly stimulate tumor growth. Four of 7 patients who obtained remissions from Tamoxifen obtained further improvement from hypophysectomy, and 1 of 8 patients who failed to benefit from antiestrogen improved after hypophysectomy. These results suggest that prolactin and growth hormone may also play a role in stimulating tumor growth in some patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalTransactions of the Association of American Physicians
Volume90
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1977

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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