Fulvestrant versus anastrozole for the treatment of advanced breast carcinoma

A prospectively planned combined survival analysis of two multicenter trials




Fulvestrant is an estrogen receptor antagonist with no agonist effects. In the second-line treatment of advanced breast carcinoma, fulvestrant was shown previously to be as effective as the third-generation aromatase inhibitor, anastrozole, in terms of time to disease progression and objective response rates. The authors reported the overall survival results from these studies.


A prospectively planned, combined, overall survival analysis was performed, including data from two Phase III trials that compared the efficacy and tolerability of fulvestrant (250 mg monthly; n = 428) with anastrozole (1 mg daily; n = 423) in the treatment of postmenopausal women with advanced breast carcinoma who had disease progression after receipt of previous endocrine treatment.


At an extended median follow-up of 27.0 months (range, 0–66.9 months), 319 (74.5%) patients in the fulvestrant group and 322 (76.1%) patients in the anastrozole group had died. Prolonged survival was observed with both drugs, with 10–20% of patients still alive > 5 years after randomization. The median overall survival was similar between treatments, being 27.4 months and 27.7 months in fulvestrant and anastrozole-treated patients, respectively (hazards ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.84–1.15; P = 0.809). Fulvestrant continued to be well tolerated, and was associated with a significantly lower incidence of joint disorders compared with anastrozole (P = 0.0234).


The current analysis showed that fulvestrant was similar to anastrozole with respect to overall survival in the second-line treatment of postmenopausal women with advanced breast carcinoma. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.