Tamoxifen treatment for breast cancer and risk of endometrial cancer: a case-control study.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Mar 2;97(5):375-84. PMID: 15741574
Section of Epidemiology, Brookes Lawley Building, Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5NG, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: Tamoxifen treatment of breast cancer is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer, but tamoxifen-related risks of endometrial cancer are unclear in premenopausal women, in long-term users of tamoxifen, and in women for whom several years have passed since ending treatment. We conducted a case-control study in Britain to investigate these risks. METHODS: We compared treatment information on 813 case patients who had endometrial cancer after their diagnosis for breast cancer and 1067 control patients who had breast cancer but not subsequent endometrial cancer. We assessed risk by conditional logistic regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: Overall, tamoxifen treatment, compared with no treatment, was associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.8 to 3.0). Risk increased statistically significantly (P(trend)<.001) with duration of treatment (for>or =5 years of treatment compared with no treatment, OR = 3.6, 95% CI = 2.6 to 4.8). As an indication of background levels of treatment, 16% of control patients received 5 years or more of treatment. Risk of endometrial cancer adjusted for treatment duration did not diminish in follow-up to at least 5 years after the last treatment ended. Risk of endometrial cancer was not associated with the daily dose of tamoxifen and was comparable in pre- and postmenopausal women. Ever treatment with tamoxifen was associated with a much greater risk of Mullerian and mesodermal mixed endometrial tumors (OR = 13.5, 95% CI = 4.1 to 44.5) than of adenocarcinoma (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.6 to 2.7) or clear cell and papillary serous tumors (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 0.8 to 17.9). CONCLUSIONS: There is an increasing risk of endometrial cancer associated with longer tamoxifen treatment, extending well beyond 5 years. The increased risk of endometrial cancer associated with tamoxifen treatment should be considered clinically for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women during treatment and for at least 5 years after the last treatment.