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Cancer Treat Rev. 2004 May;30(3):291-301.

The effects of tamoxifen on the female genital tract.

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  • 1Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical University of Gdansk, Debinki 7, Gdansk 80-211, Poland.


Tamoxifen is an effective and relatively non-toxic compound used in palliative and adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. More recently its preventive role in breast cancer has also been demonstrated. However, tamoxifen use is related to some increase in the risk of endometrial cancer and to a significant rise in the incidence of benign endometrial pathologies. The activity of tamoxifen against breast cancer is mainly achieved by blocking the oestrogen receptor, whereas the effect of this compound on the female genital tract is mostly related to its agonistic properties. Despite numerous studies no effective methods of tamoxifen-user surveillance have been developed and currently no active screening for endometrial cancer, apart from yearly gynaecological examination, is recommended in these patients. In other parts of the genital tract, tamoxifen increases the risk of some benign conditions and may cause difficulties in the interpretation of cervical smears. Further studies are warranted to develop more effective surveillance and methods decreasing the detrimental effects of tamoxifen on the female genital tract.

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