Tamoxifen side effects 'prompt men to stop treatment'

17 November 2011

Around 50 per cent of males who take the drug tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer returning could experience significant side effects, new research has revealed.

Scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that weight gain and sexual dysfunction were among the effects of the drug, which prompted patients to discontinue use - putting them at risk of the disease recurring.

The oestrogen-blocking drug is foremost used in male breast cancer patients as a final method of preventing regrowth, but a study of men taking the prescribed medication showed that 20 per cent stopped using it due to its restricting side effects.

Sharon Giordano, associate professor of medicine in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology and senior author of the study published in the journal Annals of Oncology, said: "While tamoxifen is effective in treating breast cancer in men, little is known about its toxicity. This research will help doctors and patients better understand the side effects men experience."

Macmillan Cancer Care found that an estimated 300 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, which accounts for less than one in every 100 cases of breast cancer in both male and female patients.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Giordano, Sharon, et al, "Retrospective review of male breast cancer patients: analysis of tamoxifen-related side-effects", Annals of Oncology, November 15th 2011


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