FDA Approves Pharmacia and UpJohn's Aromasin

Aromasin (Exemestane) is a steroidal suicide aromatase inhibitor, which means that it lowers estrogen production in the body by blocking the aromatase enzyme, the enzyme responsible for estrogen synthesization.

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This stuff was developed to fight breast cancer in post-menopausal women, who need a particularly aggressive therapy, and for whom first line defenses such as SERMS (Tamoxifen) have not worked. This should be our first clue in inferring that this stuff is pretty strong, or at least stronger than some of the other compounds which are used to fight breast cancer.

AROMASIN is indicated for adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal women with estrogenreceptor positive early breast cancer who have received two to three years of tamoxifen and are switched to AROMASIN for completion of a total of five consecutive years of adjuvant hormonal therapy.

AROMASIN is indicated for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women whose disease has progressed following tamoxifen therapy.

Definition:
Aromasin (exemestane) is an antiestrogen, or estrogen suppressor medication, taken as a 25 mg pill. Aromasin is a steroid. This medication helps lower your risk of breast cancer recurrence, and improves your chance of survival.
Drug type:
The enzyme aromatase is present in fat tissues, such as breast tissue. Aromasin inhibits this aromatase, which converts pre-estrogen to active estrogen. This is how Aromasin suppresses estrogen levels after adjuvant chemotherapy treatment for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and in women with advanced (metastatic) disease.
Uses:
Aromasin is given to female breast cancer patients to lower estrogen levels and prevent recurrence of breast cancer. Patients who take Aromasin must be post-menopausal, have finished primary treatment for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, and have already taken two or three years of tamoxifen. This drug is also given to patients with advanced breast cancer, when tamoxifen has not halted the spread of cancer.

Aromasin, a new drug to treat post-menopausal advanced breast cancer in patients for whom treatment with tamofixen was ineffective, has been shown to inhibit the production of estrogen, upon which some breast cancer cells depend. Furthermore, studies indicate that Aromasin, which reduces the risk of tumor progression by 18 percent and the risk of death by 23 percent, is more beneficial than the hormone therapy, megestrol acetate.

In post-menopausal women, the principle source of estrogen comes from the conversion of adrenal and ovarian androgens to estrogens by the aromatase (exemestane) enzyme. For post-menopausal women with hormone-dependent breast cancer, Aromasin serves as an aromatase inhibitor. As a result, the concentrations of estrogen, on which breast cancer cells may depend, are lowered. This estrogen-depriving process nicknamed, "suicide inhibition," is irreversible. However, it does not affect other enzymes involved in the steroidogenic pathway up to a concentration at least 600 times higher than that inhibiting the aromatase enzyme.