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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Antioestrogens are used in the hormonal treatment of breast cancer. The gold standard is tamoxifen which is primarily an oestrogen receptor antagonist with some agonist acitivity.

Tamoxifen taken for 5 years following surgical treatment is a standard part of the treatment regime for postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. If used in this context then tamoxifen:

  • increases the proportion of women who survive for at least 10 years from about 50% to 60% among those with lymph-node involvement
  • increases the proportion of women who survive for at least 10 years without lymph-node involvement from about 73% to 79%
  • almost halves the risk of development of cancer in the contralateral breast


  1. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (2003), 41 (8), 57-59.

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