|Trade names||Faslodex, others|
|Other names||ICI-182780; ZD-182780; ZD-9238; 7α-[9-[(4,4,5,5,5-Pentafluoropentyl)-sulfinyl]nonyl]estra-1,3,5(10)-triene-3,17β-diol|
|Metabolism||Hydroxylation, conjugation (glucuronidation, sulfation)|
|Elimination half-life||IM: 40–50 days|
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||606.78 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
|(what is this?)|
Fulvestrant, sold under the brand name Faslodex among others, is a medication used to treat hormone receptor (HR)-positive metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression as well as HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer in combination with palbociclib in women with disease progression after endocrine therapy. It is given by injection into a muscle.
Fulvestrant is a selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) and was first-in-class to be approved. It works by binding to the estrogen receptor and destabilizing it, causing the cell's normal protein degradation processes to destroy it.
Fulvestrant was approved for medical use in the United States in 2002.
Fulvestrant is used for the treatment of hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer or locally advanced unresectable disease in postmenopausal women; it is given by injection. A 2017 Cochrane review found it is as safe and effective as first line or second line endocrine therapy.
Due to the medication's having a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen, it can interact with immunoassays for blood estradiol concentrations and show falsely elevated results. This can improperly lead to discontinuing the treatment.
Very common (occurring in more than 10% of people) adverse effects include nausea, injection site reactions, weakness, and elevated transaminases. Common (between 1% and 10%) adverse effects include urinary tract infections, hypersensitivity reactions, loss of appetite, headache, blood clots in veins, hot flushes, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated bilirubin, rashes, and back pain. In a large clinical trial, the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) with fulvestrant was 0.9%.
Fulvestrant is an antiestrogen which acts as an antagonist of the estrogen receptor (ER) and additionally as a selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD). It works by binding to the estrogen receptor and making it more hydrophobic, which makes the receptor unstable and misfold, which in turn leads normal processes inside the cell to degrade it. In addition to its antiestrogenic activity, fulvestrant is an agonist of the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER), albeit with relatively low affinity (10–100 nM, relative to 3–6 nM for estradiol).
Fulvestrant is slowly absorbed and maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax) are reached after about 5 days and the terminal half-life is around 50 days. Fulvestrant is highly (99%) bound to plasma proteins including very low density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, and high density lipoprotein. It appears to be metabolized along the same pathways as endogenous steroids; CYP3A4 may be involved, but non-cytochrome routes appear to be more important. It does not inhibit any CYP450 enzymes. Elimination is almost all via feces.
Fulvestrant does not cross the blood–brain barrier in animals and may not in humans as well. Accordingly, no effects of fulvestrant on brain function have been observed in preclinical or clinical research.
Society and culture
The U.K. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said in 2011 that it found no evidence Faslodex was significantly better than existing treatments, so its widespread use would not be a good use of resources for the country's National Health Service. The first month's treatment of Faslodex, which starts with a loading dose, costs £1,044.82 ($1,666), and subsequent treatments cost £522.41 a month. In the 12 months ending June 2015, the UK price (excluding VAT) of a month's supply of anastrozole (Arimidex), which is off patent, cost 89 pence/day, and letrozole (Femara) cost £1.40/day.
The original patent for Faslodex expired in October 2004. Drugs subject to pre-marketing regulatory review are eligible for patent extension, and for this reason AstraZeneca got an extension of the patent to December 2011. AstraZeneca has filed later patents. A generic version of Faslodex has been approved by the FDA. However, this does not mean that the product will necessarily be commercially available - possibly because of drug patents and/or drug exclusivity. A later patent for Faslodex expires in January 2021. Atossa Genetics has a patent for the administration of fulvestrant into the breast via a microcatheter invented by Susan Love.
Because fulvestrant cannot be given orally, efforts have been made to develop SERD drugs that can be taken by mouth, including brilanestrant and elacestrant. The clinical success of fulvestrant also led to efforts to discover and develop a parallel drug class of selective androgen receptor degraders (SARDs).
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