Faslodex–Another Option for Breast Cancer Treatment
On May 15, 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Faslodex (fulvestrant) as an option for breast cancer therapy. Specifically, Faslodex can be used for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women when treatment with other forms of anti-estrogen therapy is not effective. Based on findings from two clinical trials, Faslodex appears to slow the progression of cancer and shrink the size of tumors in some women. Faslodex is given once a month as an intramuscular shot.
The Role of Estrogen
Faslodex is classified as anti-estrogen therapy, along with Tamoxifen and Arimidex (anastrozole). These drugs are designed to treat the forms of breast cancer that are sensitive to the hormone estrogen. In such cases, there are estrogen receptors on the outside of the breast cancer cells. These receptors take in estrogen, which stimulates their growth.
Each anti-estrogen drug works by a slightly different mechanism, making it possible for these drugs to be used in sequence. This means that doctors have more weapons to fight breast cancer, and they can control the cancer for a longer period of time. Tamoxifen blocks estrogen from reaching the estrogen receptor in breast cancer cells; Arimidex lowers the level of estrogen in the body by preventing its production in the adrenal glands; and Faslodex destroys estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells.
The FDA's approval was based on two randomized, controlled, clinical trials. These studies compared Faslodex to Arimidex. The results showed that Faslodex was as effective as Arimidex. In addition, the two drugs appeared to be equally safe. The most common side effects reported were of mild to moderate severity and included:
US Food and Drug Administration
Last reviewed July 2008 by Igor Puzanov, MD
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