BackgroundWhether aromatase inhibitors (AIs) increase the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, compared to tamoxifen, in women with breast cancer is still debated. We evaluated the association between AI and CV outcomes in a large population-based cohort of breast cancer women.
MethodsBy using healthcare utilization databases of Lombardy (Italy), we identified women ≥50 years, with new diagnosis of breast cancer between 2009 and 2015, who started adjuvant therapy with either AI or tamoxifen. We estimated the association between exposure to AI and CV outcomes (including myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, heart failure or any CV event) by a Cox proportional hazard model with inverse probability of treatment and censoring weighting.
ResultsThe study cohort included 26,009 women starting treatment with AI and 7937 with tamoxifen. Over a median follow-up of 5.8 years, a positive association was found between AI and heart failure (Hazard Ratio = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.42) and any CV event (1.14, 1.00 to 1.29). The CV risk increased in women with previous CV risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia.
ConclusionsAdjuvant therapy with AI in breast cancer women aged more than 50 years is associated with increased risk of heart failure and combined CV events.