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What You Need to Know About the Drug Exemestane

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 12, 2021

Exemestane or Aromasin is an oral hormone therapy used to treat hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers in women after menopause. It's used to prevent breast cancer from recurring. 

Hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers grow faster in the presence of the hormone estrogen. Exemestane blocks estrogen production in the body and stops cancer from growing.

Exemestane Reduces Breast Cancer Growth

Research has shown that exemestane greatly reduces cancer growth in women with invasive breast cancer after menopause. Over a 3-year follow-up period, women who took exemestane showed a 65% lower risk of getting breast cancer compared to those who didn’t take it. Also, exemestane didn’t have any serious side effects other than ordinary symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.

Exemestane Can be Combined with Other Drugs

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of exemestane in combination with other drugs for invasive breast cancer treatment. In one such study, researchers used triplet therapy with the drugs ribociclib, everolimus, and exemestane in women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer that started after menopause. Triplet therapy targets different pathways to prevent the growth of cancer and reduce the risk of cancer coming back. It's also very safe and doesn’t cause any serious side effects.

A recent case study also showed the anti-cancer effects of exemestane in combination with the drug everolimus in a 48-year-old patient with breast cancer. After chemotherapy, the patient was given these two drugs for treatment. Exemestane and everolimus worked together to kill cancer cells and prevent them from coming back. The treatment was successful and the patient had no cancer growth during a 5 year monitoring period.

Other Considerations

Take exemestane as recommended by your doctor. It's usually not given to women before menopause as it may affect fertility. Avoid exposure to exemestane before or during pregnancy. Also, the drug must not be taken with medications that contain estrogen the two medicines, when combined, may cause side effects.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

accessdata.fda.gov: “Aromasin.”

Clinical Cancer Research: “Phase Ib Dose-escalation/Expansion Trial of Ribociclib in Combination With Everolimus and Exemestane in Postmenopausal Women with HR +, HER2 - Advanced Breast Cancer.” 

Medicine: “Case report: 5-year progression free survival and complete liver response in a patient with metastatic breast cancer treated with everolimus plus exemestane.”

The New England Journal of Medicine: “Exemestane for breast-cancer prevention in postmenopausal women.”

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