A survey among breast cancer specialists on the low uptake of therapeutic prevention with tamoxifen or raloxifene

Silvia Noonan, Ambra Pasa, Vincenzo Fontana, Silvia Caviglia, Bernardo Bonanni, Alberto Costa, Samuel G. Smith, Fedro Peccatori, Andrea DeCensi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


With this survey, we aimed to address the reasons why physicians are reluctant to prescribe breast cancer-preventive therapy with the selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) tamoxifen or raloxifene despite a strong evidence of efficacy. A selfadministered 5-point Likert questionnaire was given during breast cancer meetings in Europe or sent via email to rank the importance of 10 predefined reasons for low uptake of SERMs for breast cancer therapeutic prevention. Analyses tested the associations between the stated reasons and physician characteristics such as gender, age, country of work, and specialty. Of 246 delivered questionnaires, 27 were incomplete and were excluded from analysis. Overall, there was a small variability in response scores, with a tendency for physicians to give moderate importance (score = 3) to all 10 statements. However, the top five reasons were: the expected greater preventive effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors (70.3% with score >3), difficulty applying current risk models in clinical practice (69.9%), the lack of clarity on the most appropriate physician for prevention advice (68.4%), the lack of reliable short-Term biomarkers of effectiveness (67.5%), and the lack of commercial interest in therapeutic prevention (66.0%). The lack of reliable short-Term biomarkers showed a tendency to discriminate between medical oncologists and other breast specialists (OR=2.42;95%CI, 0.93-6.25). This survey highlights the complexity of prescribing decisions among physicians in this context. Coupled with the known barriers among eligible women, these data may help to identify strategies to increase uptake of breast cancer therapeutic prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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