"June 6, 2011 -- Women over age 60 can safely take an estrogen-lowering drug to reduce their risk of getting breast cancer, a new study shows.
The drug, Aromasin, blocks the production of estrogen that's made outside of the ovaries. It"...
- Patient Information:
Details with Side Effects
Administration with Estrogen-Containing Agents
AROMASIN should not be coadministered with estrogen-containing agents as these could interfere with its pharmacologic action.
In patients with early breast cancer, the incidence of hematological abnormalities of Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) grade ≥ 1 was lower in the exemestane treatment group, compared with tamoxifen. Incidence of CTC grade 3 or 4 abnormalities was low (approximately 0.1%) in both treatment groups. Approximately 20% of patients receiving exemestane in clinical studies in advanced breast cancer experienced CTC grade 3 or 4 lymphocytopenia. Of these patients, 89% had a pre-existing lower grade lymphopenia. Forty percent of patients either recovered or improved to a lesser severity while on treatment. Patients did not have a significant increase in viral infections, and no opportunistic infections were observed. Elevations of serum levels of AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase > 5 times the upper value of the normal range (i.e., ≥ CTC grade 3) have been rarely reported in patients treated for advanced breast cancer but appear mostly attributable to the underlying presence of liver and/or bone metastases. In the comparative study in advanced breast cancer patients, CTC grade 3 or 4 elevation of gamma glutamyl transferase without documented evidence of liver metastasis was reported in 2.7% of patients treated with AROMASIN and in 1.8% of patients treated with megestrol acetate.
In patients with early breast cancer, elevations in bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and creatinine were more common in those receiving exemestane than either tamoxifen or placebo. Treatment-emergent bilirubin elevations (any CTC grade) occurred in 5.3% of exemestane patients and 0.8% of tamoxifen patients on the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES), and in 6.9% of exemestane treated patients vs. 0% of placebo treated patients in the 027 study. CTC grade 3–4 increases in bilirubin occurred in 0.9% of exemestane treated patients compared to 0.1% of tamoxifen treated patients. Alkaline phosphatase elevations of any CTC grade occurred in 15.0% of exemestane treated patients on the IES compared to 2.6% of tamoxifen treated patients, and in 13.7% of exemestane treated patients compared to 6.9% of placebo treated patients in study 027. Creatinine elevations occurred in 5.8% of exemestane treated patients and 4.3% of tamoxifen treated patients on the IES and in 5.5% of exemestane treated patients and 0% of placebo treated patients in study 027.
Reductions in Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
Reductions in bone mineral density (BMD) over time are seen with exemestane use. Table 1 describes changes in BMD from baseline to 24 months in patients receiving exemestane compared to patients receiving tamoxifen (IES) or placebo (027). Concomitant use of bisphosphonates, vitamin D supplementation, and calcium was not allowed.
Table 1: Percent Change in BMD from Baseline to 24
months, Exemestane vs. Control1
|Lumbar spine (%)||-3.14||-0.18||-3.51||-2.35|
|Femoral neck (%)||-4.15||-0.33||-4.57||-2.59|
Vitamin D Assessment
Routine assessment of 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels prior to the start of aromatase inhibitor treatment should be performed, due to the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in women with early breast cancer (EBC). Women with vitamin D deficiency should receive supplementation with vitamin D.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling
Patients should be advised that AROMASIN is not for use in premenopausal women.
Other Estrogen-Containing Agents
Patients should be informed that they should not take estrogen-containing agents while they are taking AROMASIN as these could interfere with its pharmacologic action.
Patients should be informed that AROMASIN lowers the level of estrogen in the body. This may lead to reduction in bone mineral density (BMD) over time. The lower the BMD, the greater the risk of osteoporosis and fracture.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
A 2-year carcinogenicity study in mice at doses of 50, 150, and 450 mg/kg/day exemestane (gavage), resulted in an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas and/or carcinomas in both genders at the high dose level. Plasma AUC (0–24hr) at the high dose were 2575 ± 386 and 5667 ± 1833 ng.hr/mL in males and females (approx. 34 and 75 fold the AUC in postmenopausal patients at the recommended clinical dose). An increased incidence of renal tubular adenomas was observed in male mice at the high dose of 450 mg/kg/day. Since the doses tested in mice did not achieve an MTD, neoplastic findings in organs other than liver and kidneys remain unknown.
A separate carcinogenicity study was conducted in rats at the doses of 30, 100, and 315 mg/kg/day exemestane (gavage) for 92 weeks in males and 2 years in females. No evidence of carcinogenic activity up to the highest dose tested of 315 mg/kg/day was observed in females. The male rat study was inconclusive since it was terminated prematurely at Week 92. At the highest dose, plasma AUC(0–24hr) levels in male (1418 ± 287 ng.hr/mL) and female (2318 ± 1067 ng.hr/mL) rats were 19 and 31 fold higher than those measured in postmenopausal cancer patients receiving the recommended clinical dose.
Exemestane was not mutagenic in vitro in bacteria (Ames test) or mammalian cells (V79 Chinese hamster lung cells). Exemestane was clastogenic in human lymphocytes in vitro without metabolic activation but was not clastogenic in vivo (micronucleus assay in mouse bone marrow). Exemestane did not increase unscheduled DNA synthesis in rat hepatocytes when tested in vitro.
In a pilot reproductive study in rats, male rats were treated with doses of 125–1000 mg/kg/day exemestane, beginning 63 days prior to and during cohabitation. Untreated female rats showed reduced fertility when mated to males treated with ≥ 500 mg/kg/day exemestane ( ≥ 200 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). In a separate study, exemestane was given to female rats at 4–100 mg/kg/day beginning 14 days prior to mating and through day 15 or 20 of gestation. Exemestane increased the placental weights at ≥ 4 mg/kg/day ( ≥ 1.5 times the human dose on a mg/m² basis). Exemestane showed no effects on ovarian function, mating behavior, and conception rate in rats given doses up to 20 mg/kg/day (approximately 8 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis); however, decreases in mean litter size and fetal body weight, along with delayed ossification were evidenced at ≥ 20 mg/kg/day. In general toxicology studies, changes in the ovary, including hyperplasia, an increase in the incidence of ovarian cysts, and a decrease in corpora lutea were observed with variable frequency in mice, rats, and dogs at doses that ranged from 3–20 times the human dose on a mg/m² basis.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category X. See “CONTRAINDICATIONS” section.
AROMASIN can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman and the clinical benefit to premenopausal women with breast cancer has not been demonstrated. AROMASIN is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of AROMASIN in pregnant women.
In non-clinical studies in rats and rabbits, exemestane was embryotoxic, fetotoxic, and abortifacient. Radioactivity related to 14C-exemestane crossed the placenta of rats following oral administration of 1 mg/kg exemestane. The concentration of exemestane and its metabolites was approximately equivalent in maternal and fetal blood. When rats were administered exemestane from 14 days prior to mating until either days 15 or 20 of gestation, and resuming for the 21 days of lactation, an increase in placental weight was seen at 4 mg/kg/day (approximately 1.5 times the recommended human daily dose on a mg/m² basis). Prolonged gestation and abnormal or difficult labor was observed at doses equal to or greater than 20 mg/kg/day. Increased resorption, reduced number of live fetuses, decreased fetal weight, and retarded ossification were also observed at these doses. No malformations were noted when exemestane was administered to pregnant rats during the organogenesis period at doses up to 810 mg/kg/day (approximately 320 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). Daily doses of exemestane, given to rabbits during organogenesis, caused a decrease in placental weight at 90 mg/kg/day (approximately 70 times the recommended human daily dose on a mg/m² basis). Abortions, an increase in resorptions, and a reduction in fetal body weight were seen at 270 mg/kg/day. There was no increase in the incidence of malformations in rabbits at doses up to 270 mg/kg/day (approximately 210 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis).
If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus and the potential risk for pregnancy loss.
AROMASIN is only indicated in postmenopausal women. However, radioactivity related to exemestane appeared in rat milk within 15 minutes of oral administration of radiolabeled exemestane. Concentrations of exemestane and its metabolites were approximately equivalent in the milk and plasma of rats for 24 hours after a single oral dose of 1 mg/kg 14C-exemestane. It is not known whether exemestane is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reaction in nursing infants from AROMASIN, a decision should be made whether to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
The use of AROMASIN in geriatric patients does not require special precautions.
The pharmacokinetics of exemestane have been investigated in subjects with moderate or severe hepatic insufficiency (Childs-Pugh B or C). Following a single 25-mg oral dose, the AUC of exemestane was approximately 3 times higher than that observed in healthy volunteers.
The safety of chronic dosing in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment has not been studied. Based on experience with exemestane at repeated doses up to 200 mg daily that demonstrated a moderate increase in non life-threatening adverse events, dosage adjustment does not appear to be necessary.
The AUC of exemestane after a single 25-mg dose was approximately 3 times higher in subjects with moderate or severe renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance < 35 mL/min/1.73 m²) compared with the AUC in healthy volunteers. The safety of chronic dosing in patients with moderate or severe renal impairment has not been studied. Based on experience with exemestane at repeated doses up to 200 mg daily that demonstrated a moderate increase in non life- threatening adverse events, dosage adjustment does not appear to be necessary.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/5/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Aromasin Information
Aromasin - User Reviews
Aromasin User Reviews
Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Find support and advances in treatment.