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Exemestane Compared With Tamoxifen in Treating Women With Locally Recurrent or Metastatic Breast Cancer

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00002777
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 11, 2003
Last Update Posted : July 2, 2012
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer - EORTC

Brief Summary:

RATIONALE: Estrogen can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy using exemestane or tamoxifen may fight cancer by blocking the uptake of estrogen.

PURPOSE: Randomized phase II/III trial to compare the effectiveness of exemestane with that of tamoxifen in treating postmenopausal women who have locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Breast Cancer Drug: exemestane Drug: tamoxifen citrate Phase 3

Detailed Description:


  • Compare the efficacy of exemestane vs tamoxifen, in terms of progression-free survival, in postmenopausal women with locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.
  • Determine the safety profile of exemestane in these patients.
  • Compare the overall survival of these patients treated with these regimens.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, multicenter study. (Phase II of this study closed as of 6/14/00). Patients are stratified by participating center, prior adjuvant tamoxifen (yes vs no), prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease (yes vs no), and dominant site of metastasis (visceral with or without others vs bone only vs bone and soft tissue vs soft tissue only).

Patients are randomized to receive either oral exemestane or oral tamoxifen daily. Treatment continues in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Patients are followed every 3 months for 18 months and then at least every 6 months thereafter.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 342 patients will be accrued for this study within 4.7 years.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 342 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Study Start Date : May 1996
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2002

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Breast Cancer

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Histologically or cytologically proven adenocarcinoma of the breast that is metastatic and progressive or locally recurrent and inoperable
  • At least one bidimensionally measurable or evaluable lesion

    • Lytic bone lesions on x-ray/CT scan, surrounded by calcified bone, and at least 1 cm
    • Bidimensionally measurable extraosseous disease required for patients on bisphosphonates
    • The following are not considered evaluable:

      • Previously irradiated lesions
      • Lymphangitic spread
      • Ascites
      • Blastic bone lesions
      • Pleural effusions
  • No rapidly progressive disease for which hormonal therapy is not indicated
  • No massive visceral disease (i.e., more than one third of any organ)
  • No brain metastases
  • Hormone receptor status:

    • Estrogen receptor positive or progesterone receptor positive, defined by 1 of the following:

      • At least 10 femtomoles H3-estrogen or at least 20 femtomoles
      • H3 progesterone binding per mg of cytosol protein by DCC or sucrose density method
      • At least 0.10 femtomoles H3-estrogen or at least 0.20 femtomoles
      • H3-progesterone binding per mg of DNA by IF/EIA technique
      • Positive immunohistochemistry noted on pathology report
    • Unknown receptor status eligible provided:

      • Disease-free interval of at least 2 years since adjuvant therapy or initial surgery (if no adjuvant therapy), including most recently treated tumor in bilateral breast cancer if status unknown in one primary tumor



  • 18 and over


  • Female

Menopausal status:

  • Postmenopausal by 1 of the following:

    • Natural menopause and more than 1 year since last menstrual period (LMP)
    • Radiation-induced oophorectomy and more than 1 year since LMP
    • Chemotherapy induced menopause if:

      • At least 1 year since LMP (+ 1 year post-tamoxifen)
      • Serum FSH and LH and plasma estradiol levels in postmenopausal range
      • LHRH-induced amenorrhea
    • Surgical castration

      • Patients under age 56 with prior hysterectomy and 1 or both ovaries intact or tamoxifen-induced amenorrhea with at least 12 months since prior tamoxifen must have postmenopausal serum FSH and LH and plasma estradiol concentrations

Performance status:

  • ECOG (WHO) 0-2


  • Absolute neutrophil count at least 1,500/mm^3
  • Platelet count at least 100,000/mm^3


  • Bilirubin less than 1.5 times upper limit of normal (ULN)
  • SGOT/SGPT less than 2.5 times ULN (less than 5 times ULN with liver metastases)


  • Creatinine less than 1.5 times ULN


  • No deep venous thrombosis


  • No mental incapacitation
  • No severe concurrent disease
  • No prior or concurrent malignancy except curatively treated carcinoma in situ of the cervix or basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer


Biologic therapy:

  • No concurrent immunotherapy


  • See Disease Characteristics
  • At least 3 weeks since chemotherapy for metastatic disease and recovered
  • No more than 1 prior chemotherapy regimen for metastatic disease
  • Prior adjuvant chemotherapy allowed if disease free for at least 6 months
  • No concurrent chemotherapy

Endocrine therapy:

  • No prior hormonal therapy for advanced disease (e.g., tamoxifen or LHRH agonists)
  • Prior adjuvant tamoxifen allowed if disease free for at least 6 months
  • No other concurrent hormonal therapy, including steroids


  • Recovered from toxic effects of prior radiotherapy
  • Concurrent palliative radiotherapy, including whole brain irradiation, allowed


  • See Disease Characteristics
  • No prior ovariectomy for advanced disease


  • No other concurrent investigational drugs
  • Concurrent bisphosphonates allowed if short term (7 days) for hypercalcemia due to suspect tumor flare or if on prior bisphosphonates with bidimensionally measurable extraosseous lesion

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00002777

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Sponsors and Collaborators
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer - EORTC
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Study Chair: Robert Paridaens, MD, PhD University Hospital, Gasthuisberg
Publications of Results:
Paridaens R, Therasse P, Dirix L, et al.: First line hormonal treatment (HT) for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with exemestane (E) or tamoxifen (T) in postmenopausal patients (pts): A randomized phase III trial of the EORTC Breast group. [Abstract] J Clin Oncol 22 (Suppl 14): A-515, 6s, 2004.
Paridaens R, Therasse P, Dirix L, et al.: First results of a randomized phase III trial comparing exemestane versus tamoxifen as first-line hormone therapy (HT) for postmenopausal women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) : EORTC 10951 in collaboration with the exemestane working group and NCIC Clinical Trials Group. [Abstract] Eur J Cancer 2 (Suppl 3): A-241, 126, 2004.

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Responsible Party: European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer - EORTC
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00002777    
Other Study ID Numbers: EORTC-10951
First Posted: April 11, 2003    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 2, 2012
Last Verified: June 2012
Keywords provided by European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer - EORTC:
stage IV breast cancer
recurrent breast cancer
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Estrogen Antagonists
Hormone Antagonists
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Bone Density Conservation Agents
Aromatase Inhibitors
Steroid Synthesis Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors