Hormone therapy (also called endocrine therapy) is a breast cancer treatment that:
blocks the patient’s secretion of oestrogen or
neutralises it in order to prevent the growth of hormone-sensitive cancer cells.
Hence the need to screen for this type of hormone receptor on cancer cells from the very first histological sample in order to offer this type of treatment for receptor-positive patients.
- For menopausal patients, aromatase inhibitors are prescribed for 5 years,
- For non-menopausal patients the doctor prescribes anti-oestrogens such as Tamoxifene, sometimes in association with ovary removal. Most often the removal is chemical (by GnRH analog) or in rare cases surgical.
For some patients the hormone therapy can be “neoadjuvant” (before any other treatment), but most often it is an “adjuvant” treatment. This is an additional treatment that completes the different surgical treatments, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
This treatment is generally well tolerated by patients and significantly reduces the rate of local cancer recurrence.