Some cancers – particularly some breast cancers are said to be "hormone-dependent". This means that their progression can be promoted or impeded by hormones, particularly estrogens. Hormone therapies therefore act on hormone receptors.
How do hormone therapies work?
Hormone therapy is intended to block the hormones in question (estrogens, progesterone). Several molecules have anti-estrogenic effects in the treatment of some breast cancers. These include tamoxifen, raloxifen and the aromatase inhibitors. Hormone therapy can also be used to treat other cancers, including prostate and endometrium.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
Hormone therapies are generally well tolerated but can be associated with hot flushes or with interruption of the menstrual cycle in the treatment of breast cancer. Tamoxifen and raloxifen can increase the risk of pulmonary embolism.
- 47th congress of theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Chicago, 3-7 June 2011
- Merck Manuel, 4th edition
Hormone therapy, for example in breast cancer treatment, acts on hormone receptors. © Phovoir