Palliative treatment of endometrial cancer: what is the role of anastrozole in elderly women?

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BACKGROUND: Type I endometrial cancer is the most common gynaecological tumour in developed countries and its incidence is increasing also because of population aging. The aim of this work is to test the feasibility and safety of anastrozole as palliative treatment of endometrial cancer in elderly women ineligible for standard surgical treatment.

METHODS: Patients with histological diagnosis of type I endometrial cancer not suitable for surgical treatment were enrolled in this pilot study. Anastrozole was administered 1 mg daily orally after performing an accurate clinical and radiological staging. Validated questionnaire and self-reported outcomes were used to evaluate quality of life and compliance during the study period.

RESULTS: Eight patients with a mean age of 85 (range 80-88 years) were enrolled. All patients had endometrial cancer confined to the uterus, and none progression of disease was observed during the study period. A partial response to the therapy was reported in seven patients, while one patient had stable disease. Tumour symptoms improvement such as pain, vaginal bleeding and vaginal discomfort was reported. The endometrial thickness after twelve months has showed a reduction of 9.25 ± 4.77 mm. The average follow-up time was 18.25 months. Four women died for non oncological reasons, none death related to endometrial cancer was reported. Evaluation of symptoms showed a significant reduction of appetite loss and insomnia, while a significant increase of global health status and fatigue was reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary data suggested that the palliative use of anastrozole may be a suitable therapy for the proper management of early stages endometrial cancer in elderly women not suitable for surgical treatment with good compliance and tolerance.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: 2013000840. Date of registration: 21/09/2013. URL: trials.sanmatteo.loc .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2021


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anastrozole/therapeutic use
  • Endometrial Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nitriles/therapeutic use
  • Palliative Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Tamoxifen
  • Triazoles/therapeutic use


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