The current status of chemoprevention of breast cancer

Alberto Costa, Davide Serrano, Bettina Ballardini, Andrea Decensi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tamoxifen prevention trials showed a 38% reduction of breast cancer incidence. The evidence clearly shows that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. New approaches are needed to prevent ER-negative breast cancer and to reduce tamoxifen's adverse events, including a lower dose of tamoxifen. Different strategies are being pursued to improve the riskibenefit ratio of breast cancer chemoprevention. Raloxifen is being compared with tamoxifen in a phase III trial and the minimal active dose of tamoxifen is being assessed in phase I-II trials. The effect of the combination of hormone replacement therapy and tamoxifen is studied in order to reduce the risk while retaining the benefit of either agent. Anastrozole holds promise as a preventive agent based on preliminary data on contralateral breast cancer. An appropriated identification of women at increased risk for ER-positive breast cancer due to reproductive factors may maximize the therapeutic index of hormonal agents. Finally, new targets that interfere with ER-negative breast carcinogenesis are being sought as one-third of breast cancers will not be preventable by hormonal interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalCME Journal of Gynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Anastrozole
  • Biomarker
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Chemoprevention
  • Clinical trial
  • IGF-I
  • Raloxifen
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Oncology


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