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Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2006;42(2):170-3.

Tamoxifen (TAM): the dispute goes on.

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Dipartimento di Patologia Sperimentale, Università degli Studi, Bologna, Italy.


Tamoxifen (TAM) has been used since early '70s as antitumor agent in the adjuvant therapy of breast carcinoma. The aim was (and is) to reduce the incidence of contralateral breast cancer in primary breast cancer bearing patients. Its efficacy was about 30% when estrogen and progesterone receptors were present in the malignant breast tumor and its use in antitumor therapy is, at the present time, rather correct. Viceversa, the employment of TAM in chemoprevention of breast tumor in healthy and/or at-risk women by more than a decade has been contrasting by many scientists and supporting by others. Indeed, TAM produces not only beneficial effects but also detrimental effects (mainly induction of endometrial cancer). According to the Author of this manuscript, TAM would not be used for primary or secondary mammary tumor chemoprevention. For such purposes the right way is to wait for conclusion of ongoing clinical trials on other pure antiestrogenic agents. Indeed, good candidates to act as an antiestrogen both in breast and in endometrial tissue are under validation. In the meanwhile, the scientific dispute goes on.

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