Systematic Review
. 2019 Oct; 20(1):62.
doi: 10.1186/s40360-019-0339-1.

Aromatase inhibitors and risk of cardiovascular events in breast cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Yang He 1 Jianhua Zhang 2 Guofang Shen 3 Lin Liu 1 Qingwei Zhao 1 Xiaoyang Lu 1 Hongyu Yang 4 Dongsheng Hong 5 
  • PMID: 31665091
  •     66 References
  •     1 citations


Background: Cardiovascular events (CVEs) was considered as one of the primary cause to reduce the quality of life in breast cancer patients with aromatase inhibitors (AIs) treatment, which has not been sufficiently addressed. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between risk of CVEs and AIs in patients with breast cancer.

Methods: Included studies were obtained from the databases of Embase, Pubmed, Cochrane Library, Clinical, and reference lists. The main outcome measures were overall incidence, odds ratios (ORs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Furthermore, the association and the risk differences among different tumor types, AIs,ages,or treatment regimens were conducted. Fixed-effect or random-effect models were applied in the statistical analyses according to the heterogeneity. Our analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.

Results: Seventeen studies, which included 44,411 subjects, were included in our analyses. The overall incidence of CVEs in AIs group was 13.02% (95% CI: 8.15-20.17%) and almost all of the high-grade CVEs occurred in patients treated with AIs. The pooled ORs of CVEs was 0.9940 (95% CI: 0.8545-1.1562). Under sub-group analysis, the incidence of CVEs related to exemestane was higher than that of controls (OR = 1.1564, 95% CI: 1.0656-1.2549), but no statistical differences in risk of CVEs were found in other sub-group analysis. No evidence of publication bias was found for incidence of CVEs in our meta-analysis by a funnel plot.

Conclusions: These results suggest that patients with breast cancer treated with AIs do not have a significant risk of developing CVEs in comparison with the controls, and exemestane might not be considered as the alternative AI to the breast cancer patients from the perspective of CVEs. Further studies are recommended to investigate this association and the risk differences among different tumor types, AIs or treatment regimens.

Keywords: Aromatase inhibitors; Breast cancer; Cardiovascular events; Meta-analysis.

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