Document Type


Publication Date

December 2006


This article has been peer reviewed. This is the author's final version prior to publication in Seminars in Oncology, 33(6):642-646, December 2006. The published version is available at; copyright is retained by Elsevier, Inc.


Breast cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Several studies have identified cohorts of women at higher than average risk to develop this disease. These are women who are exposed to high levels of endogenous or exogenous estrogens, those with a family history of breast cancer, and those who harbor benign breast disease or genetic mutations that predispose to breast cancer. In this population group, adapting a chemoprevention strategy to decrease the risk of developing overt disease is a strong consideration. To this end, tamoxifen is the most accepted agent to date. This article will describe high risk categories that predict future development of invasive breast cancer, will summarize the current available data to support the use of tamoxifen for chemoprevention, and will further discuss adverse effects of tamoxifen as well as measures to anticipate and monitor for possible adverse outcomes.