“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A study to learn more about how drugs that switch off oestrogen affect breast cancer cells (FemarA)
This study looked at tissue samples to compare the effects of drugs called anastrozole (Arimidex) and letrozole (Femara) on breast cancer cells.
Anastrozole and letrozole are both aromatase inhibitors. These are a type of hormone therapy that doctors often prescribe for women with breast cancer who have been though the
This study was to learn more about the effects of letrozole and anastrozole on cancer cells. The women taking part had either letrozole or anastrozole for 2 weeks before their planned breast cancer surgery.
The researchers studied breast tissue that had been removed when the women had a biopsy to diagnose breast cancer, and compared them with tissue removed during surgery. They looked at how the drug affected the cancer cells and healthy breast tissue. They then compared the results from each drug.
The aim of this study was to see how each drug affected the growth of breast cancer cells.
Summary of results
The study team found there was no difference between anastrozole and letrozole.
This was a phase 3 study. It recruited 206 women.
The researchers were able to look at 209 tissue samples
- 103 from the women who had anastrozole (2 of the women had cancer in both breasts)
- 106 from those who had letrozole (1 woman had cancer in both breasts)
The researchers looked at the levels of substances (
They then compared the results between anastrozole and letrozole. They found no significant difference between the 2 drugs.
The researchers also looked at how anastrozole and letrozole affected the growth of breast cancer cells that had receptors for the hormones
The trial team concluded that there was no difference between anastrozole and letrozole.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor JM Dixon
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)