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Keywords:

  • antiestrogen;
  • hormonal treatment;
  • breast cancer;
  • endometrial cancer;
  • tamoxifen;
  • toremifene

Abstract

A population-based case-control study was performed to evaluate the risk of endometrial cancer related to tamoxifen or toremifene treatment. All patients with breast cancer diagnosis since 1980 in Finland who subsequently developed an endometrial cancer by the end of 1995 and 3 matched controls were identified among the 38,000 breast cancer patients of the Finnish Cancer Registry database. Detailed information on treatment of breast cancer and potential confounders was collected from hospital records. The OR for tamoxifen treatment (59 cases), adjusted for significant cofactors (increased risk associated with obesity, low parity and PR positivity) was 2.9 (95% CI 1.8–4.7). The OR for toremifene (3 cases) was 0.9 (95% CI 0.3–3.9). The OR related to adjuvant tamoxifen treatment reached its maximum 2–5 years after the beginning of treatment (OR 5.1, 95% CI 2.1–13), while the OR for tamoxifen used for palliative treatment of advanced breast cancer was especially high after a lag of over 5 years (OR 9.5, 95% CI 2.5–36). The risk increase due to tamoxifen was slightly higher if the age at initiation was below 55, and risk was more pronounced among patients with well-differentiated endometrial cancer than patients with cancers of clinical grades 2 or 3. According to our results, treatment with tamoxifen increases the risk of endometrial cancer. Due to the rare use of toremifene up to the mid-1990s, the risk assessment concerning it was inconclusive. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.