Benefit of low-dose tamoxifen in a large observational cohort of high risk ER positive breast DCIS

Aliana Guerrieri-Gonzaga, Ivana Sestak, Matteo Lazzeroni, Davide Serrano, Nicole Rotmensz, Massimiliano Cazzaniga, Clara Varricchio, Giancarlo Pruneri, Maria Cristina Leonardi, Roberto Orecchia, Viviana Galimberti, Bernardo Bonanni, Andrea DeCensi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-dose tamoxifen has comparable antiproliferative effect to the standard dose of 20 mg/day in biomarker trials, but its clinical efficacy remains unclear. We assessed the effect of low-dose tamoxifen on ipsilateral recurrence in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) patients treated in a referral Institution between 1996 and 2008. Following conserving surgery, women received radiotherapy and/or low-dose tamoxifen upon clinical judgment and patient preferences. Cox regression analyses were used with and without confounding factors. Among 1,091 women with DCIS and median age 53 years (IQR: 46–62), 544 (49.9%) received radiotherapy. Of the 833 women with oestrogen receptor (ER) positive DCIS, 467 (56.1%) received low-dose tamoxifen. After a median of 7.7 years, 235 ipsilateral recurrences and 62 contralateral breast tumors were observed. Low-dose tamoxifen significantly decreased any breast event (HR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.54–0.91) and ipsilateral DCIS recurrence (HR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.49–0.88), but not ipsilateral invasive recurrence or contralateral tumors. Radiotherapy showed a large significant reduction for any breast event (HR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.42–0.72). Tamoxifen was more effective on all breast events in women aged >50 years than in women aged ≤50 (HR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.33–0.77 versus HR = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.60–1.18, p-interaction = 0.03). Age ≤50 years, positive margins, high Ki67, high grade and low BMI were independent predictors of ipsilateral recurrence. No increase of endometrial cancers and fewer deaths (p = 0.015) were observed on tamoxifen. Low-dose tamoxifen seems to be safe and effective in reducing ipsilateral recurrence in ER positive DCIS in women aged >50 years. A randomized trial is underway to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2127-2134
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • ductal carcinoma in situ
  • local neoplasm recurrence
  • low-dose tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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