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December 31, 1955


JAMA. 1955;159(18):1701-1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960350001001

The majority of women with primary breast cancer eventually develop dissemination of their disease despite mastectomy and prophylactic radiation therapy. This indicates that metastasis occurs early. The progession of the metastatic cancer, however, is extremely variable. In some cases there is rapid growth and dissemination of the tumor, whereas in others the cancer appears to lie dormant for several years before the metastases manifest themselves. There is no satisfactory explanation for the variable course of this disease.

Palliative therapy constitutes an important aspect in the management of patients with breast cancer. X-ray therapy and endocrine treatment provide effective palliation in many patients with metastatic breast cancer. Not only do these modalities afford relief of symptoms but in many cases the growth of the cancer is temporarily arrested, thus providing prolongation of useful life. It is the purpose of this paper to review the endocrine treatment of metastatic breast cancer and