Debu Tripathy on Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer

January 12, 2016
Debu Tripathy, MD

Debu Tripathy, MD, chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses hormonal therapy for advanced and early-stage breast cancer.

Debu Tripathy, MD, chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses hormonal therapy for advanced and early-stage breast cancer.

About two-thirds of all breast cancers make hormone receptors, which can cause changes in the expression of genes and lead to cell growth. Hormone therapy interrupts the hormone action and slows or stops the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors.

Hormone therapy can put patients with advanced breast cancer into remission or keep their disease from progressing for years, Tripathy says.

In early-stage breast cancers, hormone therapy can help prevent metastatic recurrences.

Tamoxifen is typically used for premenopausal patients with breast cancer and aromatase inhibitors are used for postmenopausal patients. Tripathy says that patients at higher risk seem to benefit from longer durations of hormonal therapy.