Tamoxifen and contralateral breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers: An update

Jacek Gronwald, Nadine Tung, William D. Foulkes, Kenneth Offit, Ruth Gershoni, Mary Daly, Charmaine Kim-Sing, Hakan Olsson, Peter Ainsworth, Andrea Eisen, Howard Saal, Eitan Friedman, Olufunmilayo Olopade, Michael Osborne, Jeffrey Weitzel, Henry Lynch, Parviz Ghadirian, Jan Lubinski, Ping Sun, Steven A. NarodD. Gilchrist, B. Weber, T. Rebbeck, C. Isaacs, S. Neuhausen, J. Garber, B. Karlan, D. Fishman, S. Merajver, W. McKinnon, M. Wood, G. Evans, P. Moller, B. Pasini, K. Sweet, C. Eng, G. Rennert, F. Couch, J. McLennan, D. Provencher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Women with a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 face a lifetime risk of breast cancer of ∼80%, and following the first diagnosis the 10-year risk of contralateral breast cancer is ∼30%. It has been shown that both tamoxifen and oophorectomy prevent contralateral breast cancer, but it is not clear whether there is a benefit in giving tamoxifen to women who have previously undergone an oophorectomy. Furthermore, the relative degree of protection in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers has not been well evaluated. We studied 285 women with bilateral breast cancer and a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, and 751 control women with unilateral breast cancer and a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in a matched case-control study. Control women were of similar age and had a similar age of diagnosis of breast cancer and had been followed for as long as the case for a second primary breast cancer. The history of tamoxifen use for treating the first breast cancer was compared between bilateral and unilateral cases. The multivariate odds ratio for contralateral breast cancer associated with tamoxifen use was 0.50 for carriers of BRCA1 mutations (95% CI, 0.30-0.85) and was 0.42 for carriers of BRCA2 mutations (95% CI, 0.17-1.02). The protective effect of tamoxifen was not seen among women who had undergone an oophorectomy (OR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.24-2.89) but this subgroup was small. In contrast, a strong protective effect of tamoxifen was apparent among women who were premenopausal or who had undergone natural menopause (OR = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.27-0.65).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2281-2284
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2006


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Breast cancer
  • Oophorectomy
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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