SERMs in chemoprevention of breast cancer

Milena Gasco, Alessandra Argusti, Bernardo Bonanni, Andrea Decensi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) play a key role in breast cancer chemoprevention. Tamoxifen has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence by 30-40% in at-risk subjects in large phase III trials. However, toxicity may be a limiting factor. Thus, different strategies are being pursued to improve the risk: benefit ratio of using these compounds in chemoprevention. Firstly, the second generation SERM raloxifene is currently undergoing evaluation in comparison with tamoxifen in a large phase III trial. Also, lower doses of tamoxifen are being assessed in phase II-III trials. In addition, the combination of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen at low doses may reduce the risks while retaining the benefits of either agents. Finally, new agents that interfere with the onset of ER-negative breast cancer are being sought for combination chemoprevention since almost a third of breast cancers will not be sensitive to hormonal modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1980-1989
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Chemoprevention
  • Clinical trial
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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