Mechanism of Action
The growth of many cancers of the breast is stimulated or maintained by estrogens.
In postmenopausal women, estrogens are mainly derived from the action of the aromatase enzyme, which converts adrenal androgens (primarily androstenedione and testosterone) to estrone and estradiol. The suppression of estrogen biosynthesis in peripheral tissues and in the cancer tissue itself can therefore be achieved by specifically inhibiting the aromatase enzyme.
Anastrozole is a selective non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. It significantly lowers serum estradiol concentrations and has no detectable effect on formation of adrenal corticosteroids or aldosterone.
Effect on Estradiol
Mean serum concentrations of estradiol were evaluated in multiple daily dosing trials with 0.5, 1, 3, 5, and 10 mg of ARIMIDEX in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer. Clinically significant suppression of serum estradiol was seen with all doses. Doses of 1 mg and higher resulted in suppression of mean serum concentrations of estradiol to the lower limit of detection (3.7 pmol/L). The recommended daily dose, ARIMIDEX 1 mg, reduced estradiol by approximately 70% within 24 hours and by approximately 80% after 14 days of daily dosing. Suppression of serum estradiol was maintained for up to 6 days after cessation of daily dosing with ARIMIDEX 1 mg.
The effect of ARIMIDEX in premenopausal women with early or advanced breast cancer has not been studied. Because aromatization of adrenal androgens is not a significant source of estradiol in premenopausal women, ARIMIDEX would not be expected to lower estradiol levels in premenopausal women.
Effect on Corticosteroids
In multiple daily dosing trials with 3, 5, and 10 mg, the selectivity of anastrozole was assessed by examining effects on corticosteroid synthesis. For all doses, anastrozole did not affect cortisol or aldosterone secretion at baseline or in response to ACTH. No glucocorticoid or mineralocorticoid replacement therapy is necessary with anastrozole.
Other Endocrine Effects
In multiple daily dosing trials with 5 and 10 mg, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was measured; there was no increase in TSH during the administration of ARIMIDEX. ARIMIDEX does not possess direct progestogenic, androgenic, or estrogenic activity in animals, but does perturb the circulating levels of progesterone, androgens, and estrogens.
Inhibition of aromatase activity is primarily due to anastrozole, the parent drug. Absorption of anastrozole is rapid and maximum plasma concentrations typically occur within 2 hours of dosing under fasted conditions. Studies with radiolabeled drug have demonstrated that orally administered anastrozole is well absorbed into the systemic circulation. Food reduces the rate but not the overall extent of anastrozole absorption. The mean Cmax of anastrozole decreased by 16% and the median Tmax was delayed from 2 to 5 hours when anastrozole was administered 30 minutes after food. The pharmacokinetics of anastrozole are linear over the dose range of 1 to 20 mg, and do not change with repeated dosing. The pharmacokinetics of anastrozole were similar in patients and healthy volunteers.
Steady-state plasma levels are approximately 3- to 4-fold higher than levels observed after a single dose of ARIMIDEX. Plasma concentrations approach steady-state levels at about 7 days of once daily dosing. Anastrozole is 40% bound to plasma proteins in the therapeutic range.
Metabolism of anastrozole occurs by N-dealkylation, hydroxylation and glucuronidation. Three metabolites of anastrozole (triazole, a glucuronide conjugate of hydroxy-anastrozole, and a glucuronide conjugate of anastrozole itself) have been identified in human plasma and urine. The major circulating metabolite of anastrozole, triazole, lacks pharmacologic activity.
Anastrozole inhibited reactions catalyzed by cytochrome P450 1A2, 2C8/9, and 3A4 in vitro with Ki values which were approximately 30 times higher than the mean steady-state Cmax values observed following a 1 mg daily dose. Anastrozole had no inhibitory effect on reactions catalyzed by cytochrome P450 2A6 or 2D6 in vitro. Administration of a single 30 mg/kg or multiple 10 mg/kg doses of anastrozole to healthy subjects had no effect on the clearance of antipyrine or urinary recovery of antipyrine metabolites.
Eighty-five percent of radiolabeled anastrozole was recovered in feces and urine. Hepatic metabolism accounts for approximately 85% of anastrozole elimination. Renal elimination accounts for approximately 10% of total clearance. The mean elimination half-life of anastrozole is 50 hours.
Effect of Gender and Age
Anastrozole pharmacokinetics have been investigated in postmenopausal female volunteers and patients with breast cancer. No age-related effects were seen over the range <50 to >80 years.
Effect of Race
Estradiol and estrone sulfate serum levels were similar between Japanese and Caucasian postmenopausal women who received 1 mg of anastrozole daily for 16 days. Anastrozole mean steady-state minimum plasma concentrations in Caucasian and Japanese postmenopausal women were 25.7 and 30.4 ng/mL, respectively.
Effect of Renal Impairment
Anastrozole pharmacokinetics have been investigated in subjects with renal impairment. Anastrozole renal clearance decreased proportionally with creatinine clearance and was approximately 50% lower in volunteers with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min/1.73m2) compared to controls. Total clearance was only reduced 10%. No dosage adjustment is needed for renal impairment [see
Dosage and Administration
Use in Specific Populations
Effect of Hepatic Impairment
Anastrozole pharmacokinetics have been investigated in subjects with hepatic cirrhosis related to alcohol abuse. The apparent oral clearance (CL/F) of anastrozole was approximately 30% lower in subjects with stable hepatic cirrhosis than in control subjects with normal liver function. However, these plasma concentrations were still with the range of values observed in normal subjects. The effect of severe hepatic impairment was not studied. No dose adjustment is necessary for stable hepatic cirrhosis [see
Dosage and Administration
Use in Specific Populations
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
A conventional carcinogenesis study in rats at doses of 1.0 to 25 mg/kg/day (about 10 to 243 times the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis) administered by oral gavage for up to 2 years revealed an increase in the incidence of hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma and uterine stromal polyps in females and thyroid adenoma in males at the high dose. A dose-related increase was observed in the incidence of ovarian and uterine hyperplasia in females. At 25 mg/kg/day, plasma AUC0-24 hr levels in rats were 110 to 125 times higher than the level exhibited in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose. A separate carcinogenicity study in mice at oral doses of 5 to 50 mg/kg/day (about 24 to 243 times the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis) for up to 2 years produced an increase in the incidence of benign ovarian stromal, epithelial and granulosa cell tumors at all dose levels. A dose-related increase in the incidence of ovarian hyperplasia was also observed in female mice. These ovarian changes are considered to be rodent-specific effects of aromatase inhibition and are of questionable significance to humans. The incidence of lymphosarcoma was increased in males and females at the high dose. At 50 mg/kg/day, plasma AUC levels in mice were 35 to 40 times higher than the level exhibited in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose.
ARIMIDEX has not been shown to be mutagenic in in vitro tests (Ames and E. coli bacterial tests, CHO-K1 gene mutation assay) or clastogenic either in vitro (chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes) or in vivo (micronucleus test in rats).
Oral administration of anastrozole to female rats (from 2 weeks before mating to pregnancy day 7) produced significant incidence of infertility and reduced numbers of viable pregnancies at 1 mg/kg/day (about 10 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis and 9 times higher than the AUC0-24 hr found in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose). Pre-implantation loss of ova or fetus was increased at doses equal to or greater than 0.02 mg/kg/day (about one-fifth the recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis). Recovery of fertility was observed following a 5-week non-dosing period which followed 3 weeks of dosing. It is not known whether these effects observed in female rats are indicative of impaired fertility in humans.
Multiple-dose studies in rats administered anastrozole for 6 months at doses equal to or greater than 1 mg/kg/day (which produced plasma anastrozole Cssmax and AUC0-24 hr that were 19 and 9 times higher than the respective values found in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose) resulted in hypertrophy of the ovaries and the presence of follicular cysts. In addition, hyperplastic uteri were observed in 6-month studies in female dogs administered doses equal to or greater than 1 mg/kg/day (which produced plasma anastrozole Cssmax and AUC0-24 hr that were 22 times and 16 times higher than the respective values found in postmenopausal women at the recommended dose). It is not known whether these effects on the reproductive organs of animals are associated with impaired fertility in premenopausal women.
Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology
Anastrozole has been found to cross the placenta following oral administration of 0.1 mg/kg in rats and rabbits (about 1 and 1.9 times the recommended human dose, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis). Studies in both rats and rabbits at doses equal to or greater than 0.1 and 0.02 mg/kg/day, respectively (about 1 and 1/3, respectively, the recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis), administered during the period of organogenesis showed that anastrozole increased pregnancy loss (increased pre- and/or post-implantation loss, increased resorption, and decreased numbers of live fetuses); effects were dose related in rats. Placental weights were significantly increased in rats at doses of 0.1 mg/kg/day or more.
Evidence of fetotoxicity, including delayed fetal development (i.e., incomplete ossification and depressed fetal body weights), was observed in rats administered doses of 1 mg/kg/day (which produced plasma anastrozole Cssmax and AUC0-24 hr that were 19 times and 9 times higher than the respective values found in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose). There was no evidence of teratogenicity in rats administered doses up to 1.0 mg/kg/day. In rabbits, anastrozole caused pregnancy failure at doses equal to or greater than 1.0 mg/kg/day (about 16 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis); there was no evidence of teratogenicity in rabbits administered 0.2 mg/kg/day (about 3 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis).