With a better understanding of the etiology of breast cancer, molecularly targeted drugs have been developed and are being testing for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Targeted drugs that inhibit the estrogen receptor (ER) or estrogen-activated pathways include the selective ER modulators (tamoxifen, raloxifene, and lasofoxifene) and aromatase inhibitors (AIs) (anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane) have been tested in preclinical and clinical studies. Tamoxifen and raloxifene have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and promising results of AIs in breast cancer trials, suggest that AIs might be even more effective in the prevention of ER-positive breast cancer. However, these agents only prevent ER-positive breast cancer. Therefore, current research is focused on identifying preventive therapies for other forms of breast cancer such as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC, breast cancer that does express ER, progesterone receptor, or HER2). HER2-positive breast cancers are currently treated with anti-HER2 therapies including trastuzumab and lapatinib, and preclinical and clinical studies are now being conducted to test these drugs for the prevention of HER2-positive breast cancers. Several promising agents currently being tested in cancer prevention trials for the prevention of TNBC include poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, vitamin D, and rexinoids, both of which activate nuclear hormone receptors (the vitamin D and retinoid X receptors). This review discusses currently used breast cancer preventive drugs, and describes the progress of research striving to identify and develop more effective preventive agents for all forms of breast cancer.
den Hollander, P., Savage, M. I., & Brown, P. H. (2013). Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer Prevention. Frontiers in Oncology, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2013.00250