Clinical use of fertility agents and risk of breast cancer: A recent update for an old problem

Federica Tomao, Giuseppe Lo Russo, Gian Paolo Spinelli, Silverio Tomao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: Female infertility is today a very common, expanding problem and therefore restoring fertility strategies are increasing in the last few years. An association between ovarian stimulation and breast cancer risk has been hypothesized, but the question has not yet been clarified. Recent findings: In the last 2 years, many important studies have been published on this topic. A lot of new combinations of drugs are in experimentation and other recent drugs are already in current use, such as aromatase inhibitors. Furthermore, the data from older studies were investigated by two recent meta-analyses. Summary: Infertility affects many couples in western countries and the use of fertility stimulation techniques is widespread in the last few years, determining personal anxiety, social costs, and organizing difficulties. It is well known that one of the most important causative agents for the development of breast cancer is the proliferative activity of endogenous and exogenous female hormones. Therefore, it seems appropriate to investigate the risk of breast cancer derived from the use of hormonal therapies in infertile women. The final clarification of this question is very important so that all women can realize their dream of having children, with the certainty of not being exposed to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • breast cancer risk
  • fertility drugs
  • ovarian stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Medicine(all)


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