Toremifene in the treatment of breast cancer.
Although more widespread screening and routine adjuvant therapy has improved the outcome for breast cancer patients in recent years, there remains considerable scope for improving the efficacy, safety and tolerability of adjuvant therapy in the early stage disease and the treatment of advanced disease. Toremifene is a selective estrogen receptor modifier (SERM) that has been widely used for decades in hormone receptor positive breast cancer both in early and late stage disease. Its efficacy has been well established in nine prospective randomized phase III trials compared to tamoxifen involving more than 5500 patients, as well as in several large uncontrolled and non-randomized studies. Although most studies show therapeutic equivalence between the two SERMs, some show an advantage for toremifene. Several meta-analyses have also confirmed that the efficacy of toremifene is at least as good as that of tamoxifen. In terms of safety and tolerability toremifene is broadly similar to tamoxifen although there is some evidence that toremifene is less likely to cause uterine neoplasms, serious vascular events and it has a more positive effect on serum lipids than does tamoxifen. Toremifene is therefore effective and safe in the treatment of breast cancer. It provides not only a useful therapeutic alternative to tamoxifen, but may bring specific benefits.