Observation versus late reintroduction of letrozole as adjuvant endocrine therapy for hormone receptorpositive breast cancer (ANZ0501 LATER): An open-label randomised, controlled trial

N. Zdenkowski, J.F. Forbes, F.M. Boyle, G. Kannourakis, P.G. Gill, E. Bayliss, Christobel Saunders, S. Della-Fiorentina, N. Kling, I. Campbell, G.B. Mann, A.S. Coates, V. Gebski, L. Davies, R. Thornton, L. Reaby, J. Cuzick, M. Green

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    Abstract

    © The Author 2016. Background: Despite the effectiveness of adjuvant endocrine therapy in preventing breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer events continue at a high rate for at least 10 years after completion of therapy. Patients and methods: This randomised open label phase III trial recruited postmenopausal women from 29 Australian and New Zealand sites, with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer, who had completed ≥4 years of endocrine therapy [aromatase inhibitor (AI), tamoxifen, ovarian suppression, or sequential combination] ≥1 year prior, to oral letrozole 2.5 mg daily for 5 years, or observation. Treatment allocation was by central computerised randomisation, stratified by institution, axillary node status and prior endocrine therapy. The primary outcome was invasive breast cancer events (new invasive primary, local, regional or distant recurrence, or contralateral breast cancer), analysed by intention to treat. The secondary outcomes were disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival, and safety. Results: Between 16 May 2007 and 14 March 2012, 181 patients were randomised to letrozole and 179 to observation (median age 64.3 years). Endocrine therapy was completed at a median of 2.6 years before randomisation, and 47.5% had tumours of >2 cm and/or node positive. At 3.9 years median follow-up (interquartile range 3.1- 4.8), 2 patients assigned letrozole (1.1%) and 17 patients assigned observation (9.5%) had experienced an invasive breast cancer event (difference 8.4%, 95% confidence interval 3.8% to 13.0%, log-rank test P = 0.0004). Twenty-four patients (13.4%) in the observation and 14 (7.7%) in the letrozole arm experienced a DFS event (log-rank P = 0.067). Adverse events linked to oestrogen depletion, but not serious adverse events, were more common with letrozole. Conclusion: These results should be considered exploratory, but lend weight to emerging data supporting longer duration endocrine therapy for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, and offer insight into reintroduction of AI therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)806-812
    JournalAnnals of Oncology
    Volume27
    Issue number5
    Early online date9 Feb 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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