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1.  Optimal prophylactic and definitive therapy for bicalutamide-induced gynecomastia: results of a meta-analysis 
Current Oncology  2012;19(4):e280-e288.
Objective
Bicalutamide is approved as an adjuvant to primary treatments (radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy) or as monotherapy in men with locally advanced, nonmetastatic prostate cancer (pca). However, this treatment induces gynecomastia in most patients, which often results in treatment discontinuation. Optimal therapy for these breast events is not known so far. We undertook a meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of various treatment options for bicalutamide-induced gynecomastia.
Methods
The medline, cancerlit, and Cochrane library databases were searched and the Google search engine was used to identify prospective and retrospective controlled studies published in English from January 2000 to December 2010 comparing prophylactic or curative treatment options with a control group (no treatment) for pca patients who developed bicalutamide-induced gynecomastia. Radiotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity was also evaluated.
Results
The search identified nine controlled trials with a total patient population of 1573. Pooled results from prophylactic trials showed a significant reduction of gynecomastia in pca patients treated with prophylactic tamoxifen 20 mg daily (odds ratio: 0.06; 95% confidence interval: 0.05 to 0.09; p = 0.09), and pooled results from treatment trials showed a significant response of gynecomastia to definitive radiotherapy (odds ratio: 0.06; 95% confidence interval: 0.01 to 0.24; p < 0.0001). Aromatase inhibitors and weekly tamoxifen were not found to be effective as prophylactic and curative options. For the radiotherapy, skin-to-heart distance was found to be an important risk factor for cardiotoxicity (p = 0.006). A funnel plot of the meta-analysis showed significant heterogeneity (Egger test p < 0.00001) because of low sample size.
Conclusions
Our meta-analysis suggests using prophylactic tamoxifen 20 mg daily as the first-line preventive measure and radiotherapy as the first-line treatment option for bicalutamide-induced gynecomastia. Aromatase inhibitors and weekly tamoxifen are not recommended.
doi:10.3747/co.19.993
PMCID: PMC3410840  PMID: 22876157
Meta-analysis; bicalutamide-induced gynecomastia; prostate cancer
2.  Evaluating Letrozole and Tamoxifen Alone and in Sequence for Postmenopausal Women with Steroid Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: the BIG 1-98 Randomized Clinical Trial at 8.1 years Median Follow-Up 
The lancet oncology  2011;12(12):1101-1108.
Background
Postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer have persistent, long-term risk of breast cancer recurrence and death. Therefore, trials evaluating endocrine therapies for this patient population require extended follow-up. We present an update of efficacy outcomes in the Breast International Group (BIG) 1-98 study at 8.1 years median follow-up.
Methods
BIG 1-98 is a randomized, phase III, double-blind trial of 8010 postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer that compares five years of tamoxifen or letrozole monotherapy or sequential treatment with two years of one of these agents followed by three years of the other. The primary efficacy endpoint is disease-free survival (DFS: events comprise invasive breast cancer relapse, second primaries [contralateral breast and non-breast], or death without prior cancer event), and secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS), distant recurrence-free interval (DRFI) and breast cancer-free interval (BCFI). The monotherapy comparison includes patients randomized to tamoxifen × 5 years (n=2459) or letrozole × 5 years (n=2463). In 2005, after significant DFS benefit was reported for letrozole as compared with tamoxifen, a protocol amendment facilitated the crossover to letrozole of patients who were still receiving tamoxifen alone; Cox models and Kaplan-Meier estimates with inverse probability of censoring weighting (IPCW) are used to account for selective crossover to letrozole of 619 patients in the tamoxifen arm. The comparison of sequential treatments to letrozole monotherapy includes patients enrolled in the four-arm option of the trial and randomized to letrozole × 5 years (n=1546), letrozole × 2 years followed by tamoxifen × 3 years (n=1540), or tamoxifen × 2 years followed by letrozole × 3 years (n=1548). All patients have completed study treatment; follow up is continuing for those enrolled in the four-arm option. BIG 1-98 is registered at clinicaltrials.gov NCT00004205.
Findings
At a median follow-up of 8.7 years from randomization (range 0–12.4), letrozole monotherapy is significantly better than tamoxifen, whether using IPCW or intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis [IPCW: DFS HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.74–0.92), OS HR 0.79 (0.69–0.900, DRFI HR 0.79 (0.68–0.92), BCFI HR 0.80 (0.70–0.92); ITT: DFS HR 0.86 (0.78–0.96), OS HR 0.87 (0.77–0.999), DRFI HR 0.86 (0.74–0.998), BCFI HR 0.86 (0.76–0.98)]. At a median follow-up of 8.0 years from randomization (range 0–11.2), there were no statistically significant differences in any of the four endpoints for either sequence compared with letrozole monotherapy. Eight-year ITT estimates [each with SE ≤ 1.1%] for letrozole monotherapy, letrozole followed by tamoxifen, and tamoxifen followed by letrozole were 78.6%, 77.8%, 77.3% for DFS; 87.5%, 87.7%, 85.9% for OS; 89.9%, 88.7%, 88.1% for DRFI; and 86.1%, 85.3%, 84.3% for BCFI.
Interpretation
For postmenopausal women with endocrine-responsive early breast cancer, a reduction in breast cancer recurrence and mortality is obtained by letrozole monotherapy when compared to tamoxifen. Sequential treatments involving tamoxifen and letrozole do not improve outcome compared with letrozole monotherapy, but may represent useful strategies considering individual patient’s risk of recurrence and treatment tolerability: more thromboembolic events, vaginal bleeding, hot flushes and night sweats with tamoxifen, while more vaginal dryness, bone fractures, osteoporosis, arthralgia/myalgia, and higher grade cardiac events with letrozole.
Funding
Novartis, United States National Cancer Institute, International Breast Cancer Study Group.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70270-4
PMCID: PMC3235950  PMID: 22018631
aromatase inhibitor; letrozole; breast cancer; adjuvant therapy; endocrine therapy; tamoxifen
3.  Breast cancer (non-metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0102.
Introduction
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions after breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ? What are the effects of treatments for primary operable breast cancer? What are the effects of interventions in locally advanced breast cancer (stage 3B)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 83 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/fluorouracil and/or anthracycline and/or taxane-based regimens), or hormonal treatment to radiotherapy; adjuvant treatments (aromatase inhibitors, adjuvant anthracycline regimens, tamoxifen); axillary clearance; axillary dissection plus sentinel node dissection; axillary radiotherapy; axillary sampling; combined chemotherapy plus tamoxifen; chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab); extensive surgery; high-dose chemotherapy; hormonal treatment; less extensive mastectomy; less than whole-breast radiotherapy plus breast-conserving surgery; multimodal treatment; ovarian ablation; primary chemotherapy; prolonged adjuvant combination chemotherapy; radiotherapy (after breast-conserving surgery, after mastectomy, plus tamoxifen after breast-conserving surgery, to the internal mammary chain, and to the ipsilateral supraclavicular fossa, and total nodal radiotherapy); sentinel node biopsy; and standard chemotherapy regimens.
Key Points
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
In women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), radiotherapy reduces local recurrence and invasive carcinoma after breast-conserving surgery. The role of tamoxifen added to radiotherapy for DCIS remains unclear because of conflicting results.
In women with primary operable breast cancer, survival may be increased by full surgical excision, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, ovarian ablation, or trastuzumab (in women who over-express HER2/neu oncogene). Incomplete excision may increase the risk of local recurrence, but less-extensive mastectomy that excises all local disease is as effective as radical mastectomy at prolonging survival, with better cosmetic results. Axillary clearance (removal of all axillary lymph nodes) achieves local disease control, but has not been shown to increase survival, and can cause arm lymphoedema. Sentinel lymph node biopsy or 4-node sampling may adequately stage the axilla with less morbidity compared with axillary clearance. Adjuvant tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence and death in women with oestrogen-positive tumours. Primary chemotherapy may facilitate successful breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. Adjuvant combination chemotherapy improves survival compared with no chemotherapy, with greatest benefit likely with anthracycline-based regimens at standard doses for 4 to 6 months.Radiotherapy decreases recurrence and mortality after breast-conserving surgery. Post-mastectomy radiotherapy for women who are node-positive or at high risk of recurrence decreases recurrence and mortality. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitors improve disease-free survival compared with tamoxifen, but their effect on overall survival is unclear. Adjuvant taxane-based regimens may improve disease-free survival over standard anthracycline-based therapy.
In women with locally advanced breast cancer, radiotherapy may be as effective as surgery or tamoxifen at increasing survival and local disease control. Adding tamoxifen or ovarian ablation to radiotherapy increases survival compared with radiotherapy alone, but adding chemotherapy may not reduce recurrence or mortality compared with radiotherapy alone.We don't know if chemotherapy alone improves survival in women with locally advanced breast cancer as we found few trials.
PMCID: PMC3217212  PMID: 21718560
4.  Breast cancer (metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:0811.
Introduction
Median survival from metastatic breast cancer is 12 months without treatment, but young people can survive up to 20 years with the disease, whereas in other metastatic cancers this would be considered unusual.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of first-line hormonal treatment? What are the effects of second-line hormonal treatment in women who have not responded to tamoxifen? What are the effects of first-line chemotherapy? What are the effects of first-line chemotherapy in combination with a monoclonal antibody? What are the effects of second-line chemotherapy? What are the effects of treatments for bone metastases? What are the effects of treatments for spinal cord metastases? What are the effects of treatments for cerebral or choroidal metastases? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to June 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 63 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: anthracycline-based non-taxane combination chemotherapy regimens; bisphosphonates; capecitabine or semisynthetic vinca alkaloids for anthracycline-resistant disease; chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab); classical non-taxane combination chemotherapy; combined gonadorelin analogues plus tamoxifen; hormonal treatment with antioestrogens (tamoxifen) or progestins; intrathecal chemotherapy; non-anthracycline-based regimens; non-taxane combination chemotherapy; ovarian ablation; radiation sensitisers; radiotherapy (alone, or plus appropriate analgesia, or plus high-dose corticosteroids); selective aromatase inhibitors; chemotherapy (standard, or high dose); surgical resection; tamoxifen; and taxane-based combination chemotherapy.
Key Points
Median survival from metastatic breast cancer is 12 months without treatment, but young people can survive up to 20 years with the disease, whereas in other metastatic cancers this would be considered very unusual.
Antioestrogens (tamoxifen) result in tumour responses in about a third of women with oestrogen receptor positive metastatic breast cancer when used as first line treatment, but most women eventually develop resistant disease. Progestins and ovarian ablation may be as effective as tamoxifen, while adding tamoxifen to gonadorelin analogues increases survival and response rates.Selective aromatase inhibitors may be as effective as tamoxifen, and more effective than progestins in delaying disease progression as first or second line treatment in postmenopausal women, with similar overall survival. The benefit may be greatest in oestrogen receptor positive women.
Hormonal treatment using tamoxifen or progestins may be preferable to chemotherapy as first line treatment in women with oestrogen receptor positive disease.
First line chemotherapy is associated with an objective tumour response in 40-60% of women, of median duration of 6-12 months. Complete remission may occur in some women, whereas others show little or no response at all. Classical non-taxane combination chemotherapy, especially those containing anthracyclines, may be more effective than modified regimens and as effective as hormonal treatments in prolonging survival.The optimum duration of chemotherapy is unknown. Increasing the dose may increase serious adverse effects without prolonging survival.Taxane based chemotherapy may increase tumour response and survival compared with some non-taxane regimens as second line treatment. No clear benefit has been found in first line treatment.
Adding trastuzumab to standard chemotherapy increases response rates and overall survival in women with HER2/neu overexpression, but risks of cardiac function are increased in women also receiving anthracyclines.
Bisphosphonates reduce skeletal complications from bone metastases, while radiotherapy may reduce pain and complications from bone metastases, cranial nerve or spinal cord compression, and in brain or choroidal metastases.
PMCID: PMC2943771  PMID: 19454050
5.  Breast cancer (metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0811.
Introduction
Median survival from metastatic breast cancer is 12 months without treatment, but young people can survive up to 20 years with the disease, whereas in other metastatic cancers this would be considered unusual.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of first-line hormonal treatment? What are the effects of second-line hormonal treatment in women who have not responded to tamoxifen? What are the effects of first-line chemotherapy? What are the effects of first-line chemotherapy in combination with a monoclonal antibody? What are the effects of second-line chemotherapy? What are the effects of treatments for bone metastases? What are the effects of treatments for spinal cord metastases? What are the effects of treatments for cerebral or choroidal metastases? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 77 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: first-line hormonal treatment using anti-oestrogens (tamoxifen), ovarian ablation, progestins, selective aromatase inhibitors, or combined gonadorelin analogues plus tamoxifen; second-line hormonal treatment using progestins or selective aromatase inhibitors; first-line non-taxane combination chemotherapy; first-line taxane-based combination chemotherapy; first-line high- versus low-dose standard chemotherapy; first-line chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (bevacizumab, trastuzumab); first-line chemotherapy plus tyrosine kinase inhibitor (lapatinib); second-line taxane-based combination chemotherapy; second-line capecitabine or semi-synthetic vinca alkaloids for anthracycline-resistant disease; second-line chemotherapy plus tyrosine kinase inhibitor (lapatinib); and treatment for bone, spinal, or choroidal metastases using bisphosphonates, intrathecal chemotherapy, radiotherapy (alone or plus corticosteroids) radiation sensitisers, or surgical resection.
Key Points
Median survival from metastatic breast cancer is 12 months without treatment, but young people can survive up to 20 years with the disease, whereas in other metastatic cancers this would be considered very unusual.
Anti-oestrogens (tamoxifen) result in tumour responses in about one third of women with oestrogen receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer when used as first-line treatment, but most women eventually develop resistant disease. Progestins and ovarian ablation may be as effective as tamoxifen as first-line treatment but are associated with more adverse effects, while adding tamoxifen to gonadorelin analogues increases survival and response rates.Selective aromatase inhibitors may be as effective in delaying disease progression as tamoxifen for first-line treatment, and as effective as tamoxifen or progestins as second-line treatment in postmenopausal women, with similar overall survival. The benefit may be greatest in oestrogen receptor-positive women.
Hormonal treatment using tamoxifen or progestins may be preferable to chemotherapy as first-line treatment in women with oestrogen receptor-positive disease.
First-line chemotherapy is associated with an objective tumour response in 40% to 60% of women, of median duration of 6 to 12 months. Complete remission may occur in some women, whereas others show little or no response. First-line classical non-taxane combination chemotherapy, especially those containing anthracyclines, may be more effective than modified regimens and as effective as hormonal treatments in prolonging survival.The optimum duration of chemotherapy is unknown. Increasing the dose may increase serious adverse effects without prolonging survival.
Adding trastuzumab to standard first-line chemotherapy increases response rates and overall survival in women with HER2/neu overexpression, but risks of cardiac function are increased in women also receiving anthracyclines. Adding bevacizumab or lapatinib to standard first-line chemotherapy may also be more effective than standard chemotherapy alone but we cannot be certain as high-quality evidence is still emerging.
Taxane-based chemotherapy may increase tumour response and survival compared with some non-taxane regimens as second-line treatment. No clear benefit has been found in first-line treatment.
We don't know how capecitabine or semisynthetic vinca alkaloids perform as second-line treatment for anthracycline-resistant disease. Adding bevacizumab or lapatinib to capecitabine may also be more effective at increasing response rates and improving quality of life than second-line capecitabine alone, and adding lapatinib may also increase survival, but we cannot be certain as high-quality evidence is still emerging.
Bisphosphonates reduce skeletal complications from bone metastases, while radiotherapy may reduce pain and complications from bone metastases, cranial nerve or spinal cord compression, and in brain or choroidal metastases.
PMCID: PMC3217794  PMID: 21418674
6.  Effect of tamoxifen and radiotherapy in women with locally excised ductal carcinoma in situ: long-term results from the UK/ANZ DCIS trial 
The Lancet Oncology  2010;12(1):21-29.
Summary
Background
Initial results of the UK/ANZ DCIS (UK, Australia, and New Zealand ductal carcinoma in situ) trial suggested that radiotherapy reduced new breast events of ipsilateral invasive and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) compared with no radiotherapy, but no significant effects were noted with tamoxifen. Here, we report long-term results of this trial.
Methods
Women with completely locally excised DCIS were recruited into a randomised 2×2 factorial trial of radiotherapy, tamoxifen, or both. Randomisation was independently done for each of the two treatments (radiotherapy and tamoxifen), stratified by screening assessment centre, and blocked in groups of four. The recommended dose for radiation was 50 Gy in 25 fractions over 5 weeks (2 Gy per day on weekdays), and tamoxifen was prescribed at a dose of 20 mg daily for 5 years. Elective decision to withhold or provide one of the treatments was permitted. The endpoints of primary interest were invasive ipsilateral new breast events for the radiotherapy comparison and any new breast event, including contralateral disease and DCIS, for tamoxifen. Analysis of each of the two treatment comparisons was restricted to patients who were randomly assigned to that treatment. Analyses were by intention to treat. All trial drugs have been completed and this study is in long-term follow-up. This study is registered, number ISRCTN99513870.
Findings
Between May, 1990, and August, 1998, 1701 women were randomly assigned to radiotherapy and tamoxifen, radiotherapy alone, tamoxifen alone, or to no adjuvant treatment. Seven patients had protocol violations and thus 1694 patients were available for analysis. After a median follow-up of 12·7 years (IQR 10·9–14·7), 376 (163 invasive [122 ipsilateral vs 39 contralateral], 197 DCIS [174 ipsilateral vs 17 contralateral], and 16 of unknown invasiveness or laterality) breast cancers were diagnosed. Radiotherapy reduced the incidence of all new breast events (hazard ratio [HR] 0·41, 95% CI 0·30–0·56; p<0·0001), reducing the incidence of ipsilateral invasive disease (0·32, 0·19–0·56; p<0·0001) as well as ipsilateral DCIS (0·38, 0·22–0·63; p<0·0001), but having no effect on contralateral breast cancer (0·84, 0·45–1·58; p=0·6). Tamoxifen reduced the incidence of all new breast events (HR 0·71, 95% CI 0·58–0·88; p=0·002), reducing recurrent ipsilateral DCIS (0·70, 0·51–0·86; p=0·03) and contralateral tumours (0·44, 0·25–0·77; p=0·005), but having no effect on ipsilateral invasive disease (0·95, 0·66–1·38; p=0·8). No data on adverse events except cause of death were collected for this trial.
Interpretation
This updated analysis confirms the long-term beneficial effect of radiotherapy and reports a benefit for tamoxifen in reducing local and contralateral new breast events for women with DCIS treated by complete local excision.
Funding
Cancer Research UK and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70266-7
PMCID: PMC3018565  PMID: 21145284
7.  Breast pain 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0812.
Introduction
Breast pain may be cyclical (worse before a period) or non-cyclical, originating from the breast or the chest wall, and occurs at some time in 70% of women. Cyclical breast pain resolves spontaneously in 20% to 30% of women, but tends to recur in 60% of women. Non-cyclical pain responds poorly to treatment but tends to resolve spontaneously in half of women.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for breast pain? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 24 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antibiotics, bromocriptine, combined oral contraceptive pill, danazol, diuretics, evening primrose oil, gestrinone, gonadorelin analogues, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), lisuride, low-fat diet, progestogens, pyridoxine, tamoxifen, tibolone, topical or oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), toremifene, and vitamin E.
Key Points
Breast pain (mastalgia) may be cyclical (worse before a period) or non-cyclical, originating from the breast or the chest wall, and occurs at some time in 70% of women. Cyclical breast pain resolves spontaneously in 20% to 30% of women, but tends to recur in 60% of women.Non-cyclical pain responds poorly to treatment but tends to resolve spontaneously in half of women.
Diclofenac (a topical NSAID) seems effective at relieving symptoms of cyclical and non-cyclical breast pain but has been associated with adverse effects. There is consensus that topical NSAIDs are effective in relieving breast pain and should be considered as a first-line treatment, as the benefits are thought to outweigh the risk of adverse effects.
We found insufficient evidence to assess the effects of oral NSAIDs on breast pain.
Danazol, tamoxifen, toremifene, gonadorelin analogues, and gestrinone may reduce breast pain, but all can cause adverse effects. Danazol can cause weight gain, deepening of the voice, menorrhagia, and muscle cramps, and has androgenic effects on the fetus.Danazol is less effective than tamoxifen at reducing breast pain and has a less favourable adverse-effects profile compared with tamoxifen (10 mg daily).Tamoxifen (20 mg daily) and toremifene may increase the risk of venous thromboembolism, and neither drug is licensed for breast pain in the UK or USA.Tamoxifen (10 mg daily) under expert supervision, or danazol, may be considered when first-line treatments are ineffective.
Bromocriptine reduces breast pain compared with placebo, but its licence for this indication has been withdrawn in the USA because of frequent and intolerable adverse effects.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is associated with increased risks of breast cancer, venous thromboembolism, and gall bladder disease, may worsen breast pain. RCTs assessing the effects of HRT as a treatment for breast pain are unlikely to be conducted.
Evening primrose oil has not been shown to improve breast pain, and its licence has been withdrawn for this indication in the UK owing to lack of efficacy.
There is consensus that pyridoxine, diuretics, progestogens, tibolone, and antibiotics do not have a role in treating mastalgia. CAUTION: tibolone has been associated with increased risk of breast cancer recurrence.
We don't know whether the combined oral contraceptive pill reduces breast pain, as we found no RCTs.
We don't know whether a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, lisuride, or vitamin E reduce breast pain, as we found few studies.
PMCID: PMC3275318  PMID: 21477394
8.  Breast cancer (non-metastatic) 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:0102.
Introduction
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions after breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ? What are the effects of treatments for primary operable breast cancer? What are the effects of interventions in locally advanced breast cancer (stage IIIB)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to February 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 79 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/ fluorouracil and/or anthracycline and/or taxane-based regimens), or hormonal treatment to radiotherapy; adjuvant treatments (aromatase inhibitors, adjuvant anthracycline regimens, tamoxifen); axillary clearance; axillary dissection plus sentinel node dissection; axillary radiotherapy; axillary sampling; combined chemotherapy plus tamoxifen; chemotherapy plus monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab); extensive surgery; high-dose chemotherapy; hormonal treatment; less extensive mastectomy; less than whole breast radiotherapy plus breast conserving surgery; multimodal treatment; ovarian ablation; primary chemotherapy; prolonged adjuvant combination chemotherapy; radiotherapy (after breast-conserving surgery, after mastectomy, plus tamoxifen after breast-conserving surgery, to the internal mammary chain, and to the ipsilateral supraclavicular fossa, and total nodal radiotherapy); sentinel node biopsy; and standard chemotherapy regimens.
Key Points
Breast cancer affects at least 1 in 10 women in the UK, but most present with primary operable disease, which has an 80% 5-year survival rate overall.
In women with ductal carcinoma in situ, radiotherapy reduces local recurrence and invasive carcinoma after breast-conserving surgery, but may not improve survival.
In women with primary operable breast cancer, survival may be increased by full surgical excision, tamoxifen, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, ovarian ablation or trastuzumab (in women who overexpress HER2/neu oncogene). Incomplete excision may increase the risk of local recurrence, but less-extensive mastectomy that excises all local disease is as effective as radical mastectomy at prolonging survival, with better cosmetic results. Axillary clearance (removal of all axillary lymph nodes) achieves local disease control, but has not been shown to increase survival, and can cause arm lymphoedema. Sentinel lymph node biopsy or 4-node sampling may adequately stage the axilla with less morbidity compared with axillary clearance. Adjuvant tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence and death in women with oestrogen-positive tumours, but adverse effects begin to outweigh benefit after 5 years of treatment. Primary chemotherapy may facilitate successful breast-conserving surgery instead of mastectomy. Adjuvant combination chemotherapy improves survival compared with no chemotherapy, with greatest benefit likely with anthracycline-based regimens at standard doses for 4-6 months.Radiotherapy decreases recurrence and mortality after breast-conserving surgery. Post-mastectomy radiotherapy for women who are node-positive or at high risk of recurrence decreases recurrence and mortality, but may increase mortality in node-negative women. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitors improve disease-free survival compared with tamoxifen, but their effect on overall survival is unclear.Adjuvant taxoid regimens may improve disease-free survival over standard anthracycline-based therapy.
In women with locally advanced breast cancer, radiotherapy may be as effective as surgery or tamoxifen at increasing survival and local disease control. Adding tamoxifen or ovarian ablation to radiotherapy increases survival compared with radiotherapy alone, but adding chemotherapy may not reduce recurrence or mortality compared with radiotherapy alone.Chemotherapy alone, while widely used, does not improve survival in women with locally advanced breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2943780  PMID: 19450345
9.  Oral low dose and topical tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention: modern approaches for an old drug 
Tamoxifen is a drug that has been in worldwide use for the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer for over 30 years; it has been used in both the metastatic and adjuvant settings. Tamoxifen's approval for breast cancer risk reduction dates back to 1998, after results from the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, showed a 49% reduction in the incidence of invasive, ER-positive breast cancer in high-risk women. Despite these positive findings, however, the public's attitude toward breast cancer chemoprevention remains ambivalent, and the toxicities associated with tamoxifen, particularly endometrial cancer and thromboembolic events, have hampered the drug's uptake by high-risk women who should benefit from its preventive effects. Among the strategies to overcome such obstacles to preventive tamoxifen, two novel and potentially safer modes of delivery of this agent are discussed in this paper. Low-dose tamoxifen, expected to confer fewer adverse events, is being investigated in both clinical biomarker-based trials and observational studies. A series of systemic biomarkers (including lipid and insulin-like growth factor levels) and tissue biomarkers (including Ki-67) are known to be favorably affected by conventional tamoxifen dosing and have been shown to be modulated in a direction consistent with a putative anti-cancer effect. These findings suggest possible beneficial clinical preventive effects by low-dose tamoxifen regimens and they are supported by observational studies. An alternative approach is topical administration of active tamoxifen metabolites directly onto the breast, the site where the cancer is to be prevented. Avoidance of systemic administration is expected to reduce the distribution of drug to tissues susceptible to tamoxifen-induced toxicity. Clinical trials of topical tamoxifen with biological endpoints are still ongoing whereas pharmacokinetic studies have already shown that appropriate formulations of drug successfully penetrate the skin to reach breast tissue, where a preventive effect is sought.
doi:10.1186/bcr3233
PMCID: PMC4053098  PMID: 23106852
10.  Benefit/Risk Assessment for Breast Cancer Chemoprevention With Raloxifene or Tamoxifen for Women Age 50 Years or Older 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(17):2327-2333.
Purpose
The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) demonstrated that raloxifene was as effective as tamoxifen in reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer (IBC) in postmenopausal women and had lower risks of thromboembolic events, endometrial cancer, and cataracts but had a nonstatistically significant higher risk of noninvasive breast cancer. There is a need to summarize the risks and benefits of these agents.
Patients and Methods
Baseline incidence rates of IBC and other health outcomes, absent raloxifene and tamoxifen, were estimated from breast cancer chemoprevention trials; the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program; and the Women's Health Initiative. Effects of raloxifene and tamoxifen were estimated from STAR and the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial. We assigned weights to health outcomes to calculate the net benefit from raloxifene compared with placebo and tamoxifen compared with placebo.
Results
Risks and benefits of treatment with raloxifene or tamoxifen depend on age, race, breast cancer risk, and history of hysterectomy. Over a 5-year period, postmenopausal women with an intact uterus had a better benefit/risk index for raloxifene than for tamoxifen. For postmenopausal women without a uterus, the benefit/risk ratio was similar. The benefits and risks of raloxifene and tamoxifen are described in tables that can help identify groups of women for whom the benefits outweigh the risks.
Conclusion
We developed a benefit/risk index to quantify benefits from chemoprevention with tamoxifen or raloxifene. This index can complement clinical evaluation in deciding whether to initiate chemoprevention and in comparing the benefits and risks of raloxifene versus tamoxifen.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.33.0258
PMCID: PMC3107748  PMID: 21537036
11.  Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of published literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Ecopnomic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Objective
To review and synthesize the available evidence regarding the laboratory performance, prognostic value, and predictive value of Oncotype-DX for the target population.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
The target population of this review is women with newly diagnosed early stage (stage I–IIIa) invasive breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and/or progesterone-receptor (PR) positive. Much of this review, however, is relevant for women with early stage (I and II) invasive breast cancer that is specifically ER positive, lymph node (LN) negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) negative. This refined population represents an estimated incident population of 3,315 new breast cancers in Ontario (according to 2007 data). Currently it is estimated that only 15% of these women will develop a distant metastasis at 10 years; however, a far great proportion currently receive adjuvant chemotherapy, suggesting that more women are being treated with chemotherapy than can benefit. There is therefore a need to develop better prognostic and predictive tools to improve the selection of women that may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
Technology of Concern
The Oncotype-DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Redwood City, CA) quantifies gene expression for 21 genes in breast cancer tissue by performing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour blocks that are obtained during initial surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, or core biopsy) of women with early breast cancer that is newly diagnosed. The panel of 21 genes include genes associated with tumour proliferation and invasion, as well as other genes related to HER-2/neu expression, ER expression, and progesterone receptor (PR) expression.
Research Questions
What is the laboratory performance of Oncotype-DX?
How reliable is Oncotype-DX (i.e., how repeatable and reproducible is Oncotype-DX)?
How often does Oncotype-DX fail to give a useable result?
What is the prognostic value of Oncotype-DX?*
Is Oncotype-DX recurrence score associated with the risk of distant recurrence or death due to any cause in women with early breast cancer receiving tamoxifen?
What is the predictive value of Oncotype-DX?*
Does Oncoytpe-DX recurrence score predict significant benefit in terms of improvements in 10-year distant recurrence or death due to any cause for women receiving tamoxifen plus chemotherapy in comparison to women receiving tamoxifen alone?
How does Oncotype-DX compare to other known predictors of risk such as Adjuvant! Online?
How does Oncotype-DX impact patient quality of life and clinical/patient decision-making?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on March 19th, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1st, 2006 to March 19th, 2010. A starting search date of January 1st, 2006 was because a comprehensive systematic review of Oncotype-DX was identified in preliminary literature searching. This systematic review, by Marchionni et al. (2008), included literature up to January 1st, 2007. All studies identified in the review by Marchionni et al. as well as those identified in updated literature searching were used to form the evidentiary base of this review. The quality of the overall body of evidence was identified as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Any observational trial, controlled clinical trial, randomized controlled trial (RCT), meta-analysis or systematic review that reported on the laboratory performance, prognostic value and/or predictive value of Oncotype-DX testing, or other outcome relevant to the Key Questions, specific to the target population was included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that did not report original data or original data analysis,
Studies published in a language other than English,
Studies reported only in abstract or as poster presentations (such publications were not sought nor included in this review since the MAS does not generally consider evidence that is not subject to peer review nor does the MAS consider evidence that lacks detailed description of methodology).
Outcomes of Interest
Outcomes of interest varied depending on the Key Question. For the Key Questions of prognostic and predictive value (Key Questions #2 and #3), the prospectively defined primary outcome was risk of 10-year distant recurrence. The prospectively defined secondary outcome was 10-year death due to any cause (i.e., overall survival). All additional outcomes such as risk of locoregional recurrence or disease-free survival (DFS) were not prospectively determined for this review but were reported as presented in included trials; these outcomes are referenced as tertiary outcomes in this review. Outcomes for other Key Questions (i.e., Key Questions #1, #4 and #5) were not prospectively defined due to the variability in endpoints relevant for these questions.
Summary of Findings
A total of 26 studies were included. Of these 26 studies, only five studies were relevant to the primary questions of this review (Key Questions #2 and #3). The following conclusions were drawn from the entire body of evidence:
There is a lack of external validation to support the reliability of Oncotype-DX; however, the current available evidence derived from internal industry validation studies suggests that Oncotype-DX is reliable (i.e., Oncotype-DX is repeatable and reproducible).
Current available evidence suggests a moderate failure rate of Oncotype-DX testing; however, the failure rate observed across clinical trials included in this review is likely inflated; the current Ontario experience suggests an acceptably lower rate of test failure.
In women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer (stage I–II) that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node negative:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole (the latter for postmenopausal women only),
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX can predict which women will benefit from adjuvant CMF/MF chemotherapy in women being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
In postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node positive:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole,
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited predictive value for predicting which women will benefit from adjuvant CAF chemotherapy in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
There are methodological and statistical limitations that affect both the generalizability of the current available evidence, as well as the magnitude and statistical strength of the observed effect sizes; in particular:
Of the major predictive trials, Oncotype-DX scores were only produced for a small subset of women (<40% of the original randomized population) potentially disabling the effects of treatment randomization and opening the possibility of selection bias;
Data is not specific to HER-2/neu-negative women;
There were limitations with multivariate statistical analyses.
Additional trials of observational design may provide further validation of the prognostic and predictive value of Oncotype-DX; however, it is unlikely that prospective or randomized data will become available in the near future due to ethical, time and resource considerations.
There is currently insufficient evidence investigating how Oncoytpe-DX compares to other known prognostic estimators of risk, such as Adjuvant! Online, and there is insufficient evidence investigating how Oncotype-DX would impact clinician/patient decision-making in a setting generalizable to Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3382301  PMID: 23074401
12.  Estrogen Receptor (ESR1) mRNA Expression and Benefit From Tamoxifen in the Treatment and Prevention of Estrogen Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(31):4160-4167.
Purpose
Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain tamoxifen resistance of estrogen receptor (ER) –positive tumors, but a clinically useful explanation for such resistance has not been described. Because the ER is the treatment target for tamoxifen, a linear association between ER expression levels and the degree of benefit from tamoxifen might be expected. However, such an association has never been demonstrated with conventional clinical ER assays, and the ER is currently used clinically as a dichotomous marker. We used gene expression profiling and ER protein assays to help elucidate molecular mechanism(s) responsible for tamoxifen resistance in breast tumors.
Patients and Methods
We performed gene expression profiling of paraffin-embedded tumors from National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trials that tested the worth of tamoxifen as an adjuvant systemic therapy (B-14) and as a preventive agent (P-1). This was a retrospective subset analysis based on available materials.
Results
In B-14, ESR1 was the strongest linear predictor of tamoxifen benefit among 16 genes examined, including PGR and ERBB2. On the basis of these data, we hypothesized that, in the P-1 trial, a lower level of ESR1 mRNA in the tamoxifen arm was the main difference between the two study arms. Only ESR1 was downregulated by more than two-fold in ER-positive cancer events in the tamoxifen arm (P < .001). Tamoxifen did not prevent ER-positive tumors with low levels of ESR1 expression.
Conclusion
These data suggest that low-level expression of ESR1 is a determinant of tamoxifen resistance in ER-positive breast cancer. Strategies should be developed to identify, treat, and prevent such tumors.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.32.9615
PMCID: PMC3208536  PMID: 21947828
13.  Tumor-specific HMG-CoA reductase expression in primary premenopausal breast cancer predicts response to tamoxifen 
Introduction
We previously reported an association between tumor-specific 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutharyl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoAR) expression and a good prognosis in breast cancer. Here, the predictive value of HMG-CoAR expression in relation to tamoxifen response was examined.
Methods
HMG-CoAR protein and RNA expression was analyzed in a cell line model of tamoxifen resistance using western blotting and PCR. HMG-CoAR mRNA expression was examined in 155 tamoxifen-treated breast tumors obtained from a previously published gene expression study (Cohort I). HMG-CoAR protein expression was examined in 422 stage II premenopausal breast cancer patients, who had previously participated in a randomized control trial comparing 2 years of tamoxifen with no systemic adjuvant treatment (Cohort II). Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modeling were used to estimate the risk of recurrence-free survival (RFS) and the effect of HMG-CoAR expression on tamoxifen response.
Results
HMG-CoAR protein and RNA expression were decreased in tamoxifen-resistant MCF7-LCC9 cells compared with their tamoxifen-sensitive parental cell line. HMG-CoAR mRNA expression was decreased in tumors that recurred following tamoxifen treatment (P < 0.001) and was an independent predictor of RFS in Cohort I (hazard ratio = 0.63, P = 0.009). In Cohort II, adjuvant tamoxifen increased RFS in HMG-CoAR-positive tumors (P = 0.008). Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that HMG-CoAR was an independent predictor of improved RFS in Cohort II (hazard ratio = 0.67, P = 0.010), and subset analysis revealed that this was maintained in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive patients (hazard ratio = 0.65, P = 0.029). Multivariate interaction analysis demonstrated a difference in tamoxifen efficacy relative to HMG-CoAR expression (P = 0.05). Analysis of tamoxifen response revealed that patients with ER-positive/HMG-CoAR tumors had a significant response to tamoxifen (P = 0.010) as well as patients with ER-positive or HMG-CoAR-positive tumors (P = 0.035). Stratification according to ER and HMG-CoAR status demonstrated that ER-positive/HMG-CoAR-positive tumors had an improved RFS compared with ER-positive/HMG-CoAR-negative tumors in the treatment arm (P = 0.033); this effect was lost in the control arm (P = 0.138), however, suggesting that HMG-CoAR predicts tamoxifen response.
Conclusions
HMG-CoAR expression is a predictor of response to tamoxifen in both ER-positive and ER-negative disease. Premenopausal patients with tumors that express ER or HMG-CoAR respond to adjuvant tamoxifen.
doi:10.1186/bcr2820
PMCID: PMC3109580  PMID: 21281480
14.  Use of Tamoxifen Before and During Pregnancy 
The Oncologist  2011;16(11):1547-1551.
The outcomes of pregnancies in women taking tamoxifen before conception and during pregnancy are reviewed. Because of potential confounding, a causal relationship between treatment with tamoxifen and adverse pregnancy outcome cannot be established. However, the high frequency of severe congenital abnormalities indicates that reliable birth control during tamoxifen therapy is mandatory.
For premenopausal patients with receptor-positive early breast cancer, administration of tamoxifen for 5 years constitutes the main adjuvant endocrine therapy. During pregnancy, tamoxifen and its metabolites interact with rapidly growing and developing embryonic or fetal tissues.
Information about tamoxifen and pregnancy was gathered by searching PubMed. In addition, we had access to the records of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Because these observations are retrospective and other therapies and diagnostic measures are possible confounders, a causal relationship was not established between tamoxifen treatment and pregnancy outcome.
The records from AstraZeneca documented three live births with congenital anomalies and four live births without congenital anomalies related to tamoxifen treatment before pregnancy. Tamoxifen therapy during pregnancy resulted in 16 live births with congenital malformations and a total of 122 live births without malformations. The 122 live births without malformations included 85 patients from a prevention trial that did not record a single anomaly, whereas the AstraZeneca Safety Database alone reported 11 babies with congenital malformations of 44 live births. Additionally, there were: 12 spontaneous abortions, 17 terminations of pregnancy without known fetal defects, six terminations of pregnancy with fetal defects, one stillbirth without fetal defects, two stillbirths with fetal defects, and 57 unknown outcomes.
The relatively high frequency of severe congenital abnormalities indicates that reliable birth control during tamoxifen treatment is mandatory. After tamoxifen use, a washout period of 2 months is advisable based on the known half-life of tamoxifen. In case of an inadvertent pregnancy, risks and options should be discussed.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2011-0121
PMCID: PMC3233288  PMID: 22020212
15.  Surgery, with or without tamoxifen, vs tamoxifen alone for older women with operable breast cancer: Cochrane review 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;96(7):1025-1029.
The published literature comparing surgery, with or without adjuvant endocrine therapy, with endocrine therapy alone in older women with operable breast cancer was systematically reviewed.The design used is Cochrane review. Randomised controlled trials retrieved from the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group Specialised Register on 29 June 2005. Eligible studies recruited women aged 70 years or over with operable breast cancer, fit for surgery under general anaesthia. The studies compared surgery (either mastectomy or wide local excision, with or without endocrine therapy) to endocrine therapy alone. Primary outcomes were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Double data extraction and quality assessment were undertaken. Seven eligible trials were identified of which six had published time-to-event data. The quality of the allocation concealment was adequate in three studies and unclear in the remainder. In each case the endocrine therapy used was tamoxifen. When surgery alone was compared to endocrine therapy alone, there was no significant difference in OS (hazard ratio (HR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74–1.30, P=0.9), but a significant difference in PFS (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.39–0.77, P=0.0006). When surgery with adjuvant endocrine therapy was compared to endocrine therapy alone, there was no significant difference in OS (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.73–1.00, P=0.06), but a significant difference in PFS (HR 0.65 (95% CI 0.53–0.81, P=0.0001) for surgery plus endocrine therapy vs primary endocrine. The regimens have different side effect profiles with one study suggesting increased psychosocial morbidity at 3 months in the surgical arm, which resolves by 2 years. Primary endocrine therapy with tamoxifen is associated with inferior local disease control but non-inferior survival to surgery for breast cancer in older women. Trials are needed to evaluate appropriate selection criteria for its use in terms of patient co-morbidity and quality of life. Trials are needed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors as primary therapy for this population.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603600
PMCID: PMC2360121  PMID: 17285133
aged; breast neoplasms; surgery; randomised controlled trials; tamoxifen
16.  Women’s interest in taking tamoxifen and raloxifene for breast cancer prevention: Response to a tailored decision aid 
Although tamoxifen can prevent primary breast cancer, few women use it as a preventive measure. A second option, raloxifene, has recently been approved. The objective of the study was to determine women’s interest in tamoxifen and raloxifene after reading a decision aid describing the risks and benefits of each medication. Women with 5-year risk of breast cancer ≥1.66 from two large health maintenance organizations were randomized to receive a decision aid versus usual care. After reading an on-line decision aid that discussed the risks and benefits of tamoxifen and raloxifene, women completed measures of risk perception, decisional conflict, behavioral intentions and actual behavior related to tamoxifen and raloxifene. 3 months following the intervention, 8.1% of participants had looked for additional information about breast cancer prevention drugs and 1.8% had talked to their doctor about tamoxifen and/or raloxifene. The majority, 54.7%, had decided to not take either drug, 0.5% had started raloxifene, and none had started tamoxifen. Participants were not particularly worried about taking tamoxifen or raloxifene and did not perceive significant benefits from taking these drugs. Over 50% did not perceive a change in their risk of getting breast cancer if they took tamoxifen or raloxifene. After reading a DA about tamoxifen and raloxifene, few women were interested in taking either breast cancer prevention drug.
doi:10.1007/s10549-011-1450-1
PMCID: PMC3742062  PMID: 21442198
decision aids; patient education; tamoxifen; raloxifene; breast cancer prevention
17.  Tamoxifen for relapse of ovarian cancer 
Background
Tamoxifen is an important drug for treating breast cancer. Ovarian cancer cells are known to possess receptors for hormones and may thus also respond to tamoxifen.
Objectives
Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer in women whose tumours have oestrogen receptors. Since ovarian cancers also commonly have oestrogen receptors, it has been suggested that tamoxifen may be of some benefit. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of tamoxifen in women with relapsed ovarian cancer.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Issue 1, 2009. Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Trials Register, MEDLINE from 2002 to April 2009, EMBASE from 2002 to April 2009. We also searched registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings, reference lists of review articles and contacted experts in the field, as well as drugs companies.
Selection criteria
Randomised and non-randomised studies of tamoxifen in women with ovarian cancer who have not responded to conventional chemotherapy. Only trials involving 10 or more patients were included.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed whether potentially relevant studies met the inclusion criteria. No trials were found and therefore no data were analysed.
Main results
The search strategy identified 1392 unique references of which 1360 were excluded on the basis of title and abstract. The remaining 32 articles were retrieved in full, but none satisfied the inclusion criteria. Only observational data from single arm studies of women treated with tamoxifen were reported.
Authors’ conclusions
We are unable to make any evidence-based recommendations as we found no comparative studies assessing the effectiveness of tamoxifen in women with recurrent ovarian cancer. There is limited evidence on anti-tumour activity from phase 2 studies, but these contain no data on the effect of tamoxifen on symptom control, QOL or the prolongation of life.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001034.pub2
PMCID: PMC4235755  PMID: 20238312
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal [* therapeutic use]; Neoplasm Recurrence, Local [*drug therapy]; Ovarian Neoplasms [*drug therapy]; Tamoxifen [*therapeutic use]; Female; Humans
18.  Screening Mammography for Women Aged 40 to 49 Years at Average Risk for Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
Objective
The aim of this review was to determine the effectiveness of screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer.
Clinical Need
The effectiveness of screening mammography in women aged over 50 years has been established, yet the issue of screening in women aged 40 to 49 years is still unsettled. The Canadian Task Force of Preventive Services, which sets guidelines for screening mammography for all provinces, supports neither the inclusion nor the exclusion of this screening procedure for 40- to 49-year-old women from the periodic health examination. In addition to this, 2 separate reviews, one conducted in Quebec in 2005 and the other in Alberta in 2000, each concluded that there is an absence of convincing evidence on the effectiveness of screening mammography for women in this age group who are at average risk for breast cancer.
In the United States, there is disagreement among organizations on whether population-based mammography should begin at the age of 40 or 50 years. The National Institutes of Health, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend against screening women in their 40s, whereas the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend screening mammograms for women aged 40 to 49 years. Furthermore, in comparing screening guidelines between Canada and the United States, it is also important to recognize that “standard care” within a socialized medical system such as Canada’s differs from that of the United States. The National Breast Screening Study (NBSS-1), a randomized screening trial conducted in multiple centres across Canada, has shown there is no benefit in mortality from breast cancer from annual mammograms in women randomized between the ages of 40 and 49, relative to standard care (i.e. physical exam and teaching of breast-self examination on entry to the study, with usual community care thereafter).
At present, organized screening programs in Canada systematically screen women starting at 50 years of age, although with a physician’s referral, a screening mammogram is an insured service in Ontario for women under 50 years of age.
International estimates of the epidemiology of breast cancer show that the incidence of breast cancer is increasing for all ages combined, whereas mortality is decreasing, though at a slower rate. These decreasing mortality rates may be attributed to screening and advances in breast cancer therapy over time. Decreases in mortality attributable to screening may be a result of the earlier detection and treatment of invasive cancers, in addition to the increased detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), of which certain subpathologies are less lethal. Evidence from the SEER cancer registry in the United States indicates that the age-adjusted incidence of DCIS has increased almost 10-fold over a 20-year period (from 2.7 to 25 per 100,000).
The incidence of breast cancer is lower in women aged 40 to 49 years than in women aged 50 to 69 years (about 140 per 100,000 versus 500 per 100,000 women, respectively), as is the sensitivity (about 75% versus 85% for women aged under and over 50, respectively) and specificity of mammography (about 80% versus 90% for women aged under and over 50, respectively). The increased density of breast tissue in younger women is mainly responsible for the lower accuracy of this procedure in this age group. In addition, as the proportion of breast cancers that occur before the age of 50 are more likely to be associated with genetic predisposition as compared with those diagnosed in women after the age of 50, mammography may not be an optimal screening method for younger women.
Treatment options vary with the stage of disease (based on tumor size, involvement of surrounding tissue, and number of affected axillary lymph nodes) and its pathology, and may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy.
Surgery is the first-line intervention for biopsy confirmed tumours. The subsequent use of radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal treatments is dependent on the histopathologic characteristics of the tumor and the type of surgery. There is controversy regarding the optimal treatment of DCIS, which is noninvasive.
With such controversy as to the effectiveness of mammography and the potential risk associated with women being overtreated or actual cancers being missed, and the increased risk of breast cancer associated with exposure to annual mammograms over a 10-year period, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee requested this review of screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer. This review is the first of 2 parts and concentrates on the effectiveness of screening mammography (i.e., film mammography, FM) for women at average risk aged 40 to 49 years. The second part will be an evaluation of screening by either magnetic resonance imaging or digital mammography, with the objective of determining the optimal screening modality in these younger women.
Review Strategy
The following questions were asked:
Does screening mammography for women aged 40 to 49 years who are at average risk for breast cancer reduce breast cancer mortality?
What is the sensitivity and specificity of mammography for this age group?
What are the risks associated with annual screening from ages 40 to 49?
What are the risks associated with false positive and false negative mammography results?
What are the economic considerations if evidence for effectiveness is established?
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and searched these electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment.
Keywords used in the search were breast cancer, breast neoplasms, mass screening, and mammography.
In total, the search yielded 6,359 articles specific to breast cancer screening and mammography. This did not include reports on diagnostic mammograms. The search was further restricted to English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, and meta-analyses published between 1995 and 2005. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, and letters, which narrowed the results to 516 articles and previous health technology policy assessments.
These were examined against the criteria outlined below. This resulted in the inclusion of 5 health technology assessments, the Canadian Preventive Services Task Force report, the United States Preventive Services Task Force report, 1 Cochrane review, and 8 RCTs.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English and French-language health technology policy assessments, conducted by other organizations, from 1995 to 2005
Articles specific to RCTs of screening mammography of women at average risk for breast cancer that included results for women randomized to studies between the ages of 40 and 49 years
Studies in which women were randomized to screening with or without mammography, although women may have had clinical breast examinations and/or may have been conducting breast self-examination.
UK Age Trial results published in December 2006.
Exclusion Criteria
Observational studies, including those nested within RCTs
RCTs that do not include results on women between the ages of 40 and 49 at randomization
Studies in which mammography was compared with other radiologic screening modalities, for example, digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound.
Studies in which women randomized had a personal history of breast cancer.
Intervention
Film mammography
Comparators
Within RCTs, the comparison group would have been women randomized to not undergo screening mammography, although they may have had clinical breast examinations and/or have been conducting breast self-examination.
Outcomes of Interest
Breast cancer mortality
Summary of Findings
There is Level 1 Canadian evidence that screening women between the ages of 40 and 49 years who are at average risk for breast cancer is not effective, and that the absence of a benefit is sustained over a maximum follow-up period of 16 years.
All remaining studies that reported on women aged under 50 years were based on subset analyses. They provide additional evidence that, when all these RCTs are taken into account, there is no significant reduction in breast cancer mortality associated with screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years.
Conclusions
There is Level 1 evidence that screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer is not effective in reducing mortality.
Moreover, risks associated with exposure to mammographic radiation, the increased risk of missed cancers due to lower mammographic sensitivity, and the psychological impact of false positives, are not inconsequential.
The UK Age Trial results published in December 2006 did not change these conclusions.
PMCID: PMC3377515  PMID: 23074501
19.  Selective oestrogen receptor modulators in prevention of breast cancer: an updated meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2013;381(9880):1827-1834.
Summary
Background
Tamoxifen and raloxifene reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at elevated risk of disease, but the duration of the effect is unknown. We assessed the effectiveness of selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) on breast cancer incidence.
Methods
We did a meta-analysis with individual participant data from nine prevention trials comparing four selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs; tamoxifen, raloxifene, arzoxifene, and lasofoxifene) with placebo, or in one study with tamoxifen. Our primary endpoint was incidence of all breast cancer (including ductal carcinoma in situ) during a 10 year follow-up period. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Results
We analysed data for 83 399 women with 306 617 women-years of follow-up. Median follow-up was 65 months (IQR 54–93). Overall, we noted a 38% reduction (hazard ratio [HR] 0·62, 95% CI 0·56–0·69) in breast cancer incidence, and 42 women would need to be treated to prevent one breast cancer event in the first 10 years of follow-up. The reduction was larger in the first 5 years of follow-up than in years 5–10 (42%, HR 0·58, 0·51–0·66; p<0·0001 vs 25%, 0·75, 0·61–0·93; p=0·007), but we noted no heterogeneity between time periods. Thromboembolic events were significantly increased with all SERMs (odds ratio 1·73, 95% CI 1·47–2·05; p<0·0001). We recorded a significant reduction of 34% in vertebral fractures (0·66, 0·59–0·73), but only a small effect for non-vertebral fractures (0·93, 0·87–0·99).
Interpretation
For all SERMs, incidence of invasive oestrogen (ER)-positive breast cancer was reduced both during treatment and for at least 5 years after completion. Similar to other preventive interventions, careful consideration of risks and benefits is needed to identify women who are most likely to benefit from these drugs.
Funding
Cancer Research UK.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60140-3
PMCID: PMC3671272  PMID: 23639488
20.  Risk Prediction for Breast, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancer in White Women Aged 50 y or Older: Derivation and Validation from Population-Based Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001492.
Ruth Pfeiffer and colleagues describe models to calculate absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers for white, non-Hispanic women over 50 years old using easily obtainable risk factors.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers share some hormonal and epidemiologic risk factors. While several models predict absolute risk of breast cancer, there are few models for ovarian cancer in the general population, and none for endometrial cancer.
Methods and Findings
Using data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50+ y from two large population-based cohorts (the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial [PLCO] and the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study [NIH-AARP]), we estimated relative and attributable risks and combined them with age-specific US-population incidence and competing mortality rates. All models included parity. The breast cancer model additionally included estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use, other MHT use, age at first live birth, menopausal status, age at menopause, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, benign breast disease/biopsies, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI); the endometrial model included menopausal status, age at menopause, BMI, smoking, oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and an interaction term between BMI and MHT use; the ovarian model included oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and family history or breast or ovarian cancer. In independent validation data (Nurses' Health Study cohort) the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated; expected to observed cancer ratios were 1.00 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96–1.04) for breast cancer and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.97–1.19) for ovarian cancer. The number of endometrial cancers was significantly overestimated, expected/observed = 1.20 (95% CI: 1.11–1.29). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs; discriminatory power) were 0.58 (95% CI: 0.57–0.59), 0.59 (95% CI: 0.56–0.63), and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.66–0.70) for the breast, ovarian, and endometrial models, respectively.
Conclusions
These models predict absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers from easily obtainable risk factors and may assist in clinical decision-making. Limitations are the modest discriminatory ability of the breast and ovarian models and that these models may not generalize to women of other races.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, just three types of cancer accounted for 10% of global cancer-related deaths. That year, about 460,000 women died from breast cancer (the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death). Another 140,000 women died from ovarian cancer, and 74,000 died from endometrial (womb) cancer (the 14th and 20th most common causes of cancer-related death, respectively). Although these three cancers originate in different tissues, they nevertheless share many risk factors. For example, current age, age at menarche (first period), and parity (the number of children a woman has had) are all strongly associated with breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer risk. Because these cancers share many hormonal and epidemiological risk factors, a woman with a high breast cancer risk is also likely to have an above-average risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several statistical models (for example, the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool) have been developed that estimate a woman's absolute risk (probability) of developing breast cancer over the next few years or over her lifetime. Absolute risk prediction models are useful in the design of cancer prevention trials and can also help women make informed decisions about cancer prevention and treatment options. For example, a woman at high risk of breast cancer might decide to take tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention, but ideally she needs to know her absolute endometrial cancer risk before doing so because tamoxifen increases the risk of this cancer. Similarly, knowledge of her ovarian cancer risk might influence a woman's decision regarding prophylactic removal of her ovaries to reduce her breast cancer risk. There are few absolute risk prediction models for ovarian cancer, and none for endometrial cancer, so here the researchers develop models to predict the risk of these cancers and of breast cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Absolute risk prediction models are constructed by combining estimates for risk factors from cohorts with population-based incidence rates from cancer registries. Models are validated in an independent cohort by testing their ability to identify people with the disease in an independent cohort and their ability to predict the observed numbers of incident cases. The researchers used data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older that were collected during two large prospective US cohort studies of cancer screening and of diet and health, and US cancer incidence and mortality rates provided by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program to build their models. The models all included parity as a risk factor, as well as other factors. The model for endometrial cancer, for example, also included menopausal status, age at menopause, body mass index (an indicator of the amount of body fat), oral contraceptive use, menopausal hormone therapy use, and an interaction term between menopausal hormone therapy use and body mass index. Individual women's risk for endometrial cancer calculated using this model ranged from 1.22% to 17.8% over the next 20 years depending on their exposure to various risk factors. Validation of the models using data from the US Nurses' Health Study indicated that the endometrial cancer model overestimated the risk of endometrial cancer but that the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated—the predicted and observed risks for these cancers in the validation cohort agreed closely. Finally, the discriminatory power of the models (a measure of how well a model separates people who have a disease from people who do not have the disease) was modest for the breast and ovarian cancer models but somewhat better for the endometrial cancer model.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer can all be predicted using information on known risk factors for these cancers that is easily obtainable. Because these models were constructed and validated using data from white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older, they may not accurately predict absolute risk for these cancers for women of other races or ethnicities. Moreover, the modest discriminatory power of the breast and ovarian cancer models means they cannot be used to decide which women should be routinely screened for these cancers. Importantly, however, these well-calibrated models should provide realistic information about an individual's risk of developing breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer that can be used in clinical decision-making and that may assist in the identification of potential participants for research studies.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001492.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Lars Holmberg and Andrew Vickers
The US National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive information about cancer (in English and Spanish), including detailed information about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer;
Information on the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, and on the prospective cohort study of screening and the diet and health study that provided the data used to build the models is also available on the NCI site
Cancer Research UK, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about cancer, including detailed information on breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information and personal stories about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer; the not-for-profit organization Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about dealing with breast cancer and ovarian cancer
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001492
PMCID: PMC3728034  PMID: 23935463
21.  A Randomized Trial of Adjuvant Chemotherapy and Tamoxifen Timing in Postmenopausal, Endocrine-Responsive, Node-Positive Breast Cancer 
Lancet  2009;374(9707):2055-2063.
Background
Tamoxifen is standard adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The benefit of adding chemotherapy and optimal timing of tamoxifen with chemotherapy are unknown.
Methods
We conducted a parallel randomized phase III trial in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive, node-positive breast cancer to test whether disease-free survival (DFS) with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (AdriamycinR), and 5-fluorouracil (CAF) plus 5 years of tamoxifen was longer than with tamoxifen alone; and whether DFS with CAF followed by tamoxifen (CAF-T) was better than CAF plus concurrent tamoxifen (CAFT). Overall survival and toxicity were predefined, important secondary outcomes. Randomization was a 2:3:3 (T:CAF-T:CAFT) unblinded allocation and analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00929591.
Findings
Of 1558 women randomized, 1477 (95%) were eligible (tamoxifen, 361; CAF-T, 566; CAFT, 550). The combined CAF groups were superior to tamoxifen for the primary outcome of DFS (P=0.002), with adjusted Cox regression hazard ratio (HR) =0.76 (95% CI 0.64,0.91). CAF-T was marginally better than CAFT for DFS (P=0.055) with adjusted HR 0.84 (0.70,1.01). Ten-year DFS for CAF-T, CAFT, and T were 60%, 53%, and 48%, respectively. The planned secondary outcome, overall survival, showed a similar pattern of results, with combined CAF groups seem superior to tamoxifen [p=0.043, adjusted HR 0.83 (0.68,1.01)]. Neutropenia, stomatitis, thromboembolism, congestive heart failure and leukemia were more frequent with CAF than tamoxifen alone.
Interpretation
Chemotherapy with CAF plus tamoxifen resulted in longer survival over tamoxifen in endocrine-responsive, node-positive breast cancer, with greater benefit when tamoxifen followed CAF.
Funding
National Cancer Institute (NIH-USA).
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61523-3
PMCID: PMC3140679  PMID: 20004966
22.  Long-term endometrial effects in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer participating in the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES)—a randomised controlled trial of exemestane versus continued tamoxifen after 2–3 years tamoxifen 
Annals of Oncology  2009;21(3):498-505.
Background: The antiestrogen tamoxifen may have partial estrogen-like effects on the postmenopausal uterus. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are increasingly used after initial tamoxifen in the adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal early breast cancer due to their mechanism of action: a potential benefit being a reduction of uterine abnormalities caused by tamoxifen.
Patients and methods: Sonographic uterine effects of the steroidal AI exemestane were studied in 219 women participating in the Intergroup Exemestane Study: a large trial in postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive (or unknown) early breast cancer, disease free after 2–3 years of tamoxifen, randomly assigned to continue tamoxifen or switch to exemestane to complete 5 years adjuvant treatment. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with abnormal (≥5 mm) endometrial thickness (ET) on transvaginal ultrasound 24 months after randomisation.
Results: The analysis included 183 patients. Two years after randomisation, the proportion of patients with abnormal ET was significantly lower in the exemestane compared with tamoxifen arm (36% versus 62%, respectively; P = 0.004). This difference emerged within 6 months of switching treatment (43.5% versus 65.2%, respectively; P = 0.01) and disappeared within 12 months of treatment completion (30.8% versus 34.7%, respectively; P = 0.67).
Conclusion: Switching from tamoxifen to exemestane significantly reverses endometrial thickening associated with continued tamoxifen.
doi:10.1093/annonc/mdp358
PMCID: PMC2826098  PMID: 19717534
adjuvant treatment; aromatase inhibitors; breast cancer; endometrium; exemestane; tamoxifen
23.  Breast pain 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:0812.
Introduction
Breast pain may be cyclical (worse before a period) or non-cyclical, originating from the breast or the chest wall, and occurs at some time in 70% of women. Cyclical breast pain resolves spontaneously in 20-30% of women, but tends to recur in 60% of women. Non-cyclical pain responds poorly to treatment but tends to resolve spontaneously in half of women.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of treatments for breast pain? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to January 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 22 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: a low-fat diet, antibiotics, bromocriptine, danazol, diuretics, evening primrose oil, gestrinone, gonadorelin analogues, hormone replacement therapy, lisuride, progestogens, pyridoxine, tamoxifen, tibolone, topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, toremifene, and vitamin E.
Key Points
Breast pain may be cyclical (worse before a period) or non-cyclical, originating from the breast or the chest wall, and occurs at some time in 70% of women. Cyclical breast pain resolves spontaneously in 20-30% of women, but tends to recur in 60% of women.Non-cyclical pain responds poorly to treatment but tends to resolve spontaneously in half of women.
There is a consensus that topical NSAIDs are effective and well tolerated in relieving breast pain.
Danazol, tamoxifen, toremifene, gonadorelin analogues, and gestrinone may reduce breast pain but can all cause adverse effects. Danazol can cause weight gain, deepening of the voice, menorrhagia and muscle cramps, and has androgenic effects on the fetus.Tamoxifen and toremifene may increase the risk of venous thromboembolism and are not licensed for breast pain in the UK or USA. Bromocriptine reduces breast pain compared with placebo, but its licence for this indication has been withdrawn in the USA because of frequent and intolerable adverse effects.Breast pain may be made worse by hormone replacement therapy, which is also associated with increased risks of breast cancer, venous thromboembolism, and gall bladder disease.
Evening primrose oil has not been shown to improve breast pain and has had its licence withdrawn for this indication in the UK owing to lack of efficacy. We don't know whether a low fat, high carbohydrate diet, lisuride, tibolone, progestogens, pyridoxine, diuretics, antibiotics, or vitamin E reduce breast pain, as few studies have been found.
PMCID: PMC2943772  PMID: 19454068
24.  Safety of aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting 
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment  2007;105(Suppl 1):75-89.
The third-generation aromatase inhibitors (AIs) letrozole, anastrozole, and exemestane are replacing tamoxifen as adjuvant therapy in most postmenopausal women with early breast cancer. Although AIs have demonstrated superior efficacy and better overall safety compared with tamoxifen in randomized controlled trials, they may not provide the cardioprotective effects of tamoxifen, and bone loss may be a concern with their long-term adjuvant use. Patients require regular bone mineral density monitoring, and prophylactic bisphosphonates are being evaluated to determine whether they may protect long-term bone health. AIs decrease the risks of thromboembolic and cerebrovascular events compared with tamoxifen, and the overall rate of cardiovascular events in patients treated with AIs is within the range seen in age-matched, non-breast-cancer populations. AIs are also associated with a lower incidence of endometrial cancer and fewer vaginal bleeding/discharge events than tamoxifen. Compared with tamoxifen, the incidence of hot flashes is lower with anastrozole and letrozole but may be higher with exemestane. Generally, adverse events with AIs are predictable and manageable, whereas tamoxifen may be associated with life-threatening events in a minority of patients. Overall, the benefits of AIs over tamoxifen are achieved without compromising overall quality of life.
doi:10.1007/s10549-007-9704-7
PMCID: PMC2001222  PMID: 17912638
Adjuvant therapy; Aromatase inhibitors; Early breast cancer; Letrozole; Safety
25.  Prognostic and Predictive Value of the 21-Gene Recurrence Score Assay in a Randomized Trial of Chemotherapy for Postmenopausal, Node-Positive, Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer 
The lancet oncology  2009;11(1):55-65.
SUMMARY
Background
The 21-gene Recurrence Score assay (RS) is prognostic for women with node-negative, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer (BC) treated with tamoxifen. A low RS predicts little benefit of chemotherapy. For node-positive BC, we investigated whether RS was prognostic in women treated with tamoxifen alone and whether it identified those who might not benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy, despite higher recurrence risks.
Methods
The phase III trial S8814 for postmenopausal women with node-positive, ER-positive BC showed that CAF chemotherapy prior to tamoxifen (CAF-T) added survival benefit to tamoxifen alone. Optional tumor banking yielded specimens for RS determination by RT-PCR. We evaluated the effect of RS on disease-free survival (DFS) by treatment group (tamoxifen versus CAF-T) using Cox regression adjusting for number of positive nodes.
Findings
There were 367 specimens (40% of parent trial) with sufficient RNA (tamoxifen, 148; CAF-T, 219). The RS was prognostic in the tamoxifen arm (p=0.006). There was no CAF benefit in the low RS group (logrank p=0.97; HR=1.02, 95% CI (0.54,1.93)), but major DFS improvement for the high RS subset (logrank p=.03; HR=0.59, 95% CI (0.35, 1.01)), adjusting for number of positive nodes. The RS-by-treatment interaction was significant in the first 5 years (p=0.029), with no additional prediction beyond 5 years (p=0.58), though the cumulative benefit remained at 10 years. Results were similar for overall survival and BC-specific survival.
Interpretation
In this retrospective analysis, the RS is prognostic for tamoxifen-treated patients with positive nodes and predicts significant CAF benefit in tumors with a high RS. A low RS identifies women who may not benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy despite positive nodes.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70314-6
PMCID: PMC3058239  PMID: 20005174

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