Any one of a class of drugs used in the treatment of early and advanced oestrogen-dependent breast cancer in postmenopausal women. These drugs act by inhibiting the action of aromatase, an enzyme that promotes the conversion of testosterone to oestradiol. They therefore reduce oestrogen levels, which can be helpful in the control of oestrogen-dependent tumours. Aromatase inhibitors include anastrazole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara), which are taken by mouth; side-effects include symptoms of oestrogen deficiency (e.g. hot flushes), nausea and vomiting, and headache.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.