Ovarian cysts in tamoxifen-treated women with breast cancer

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2005 May 1;120(1):104-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2004.09.006.


Objective: The objective of this study was to detect any ovarian changes in tamoxifen-treated breast cancer patients.

Methods: In all, 51 patients with breast cancer were enrolled in the study, which was conducted in the SSK (Social Security Agency) Aegean Maternity Hospital between January 1999 and December 2002. The patients' demographic and medical data were reviewed. All patients taking part in the study received tamoxifen therapy, but the duration was not uniform. Gynecological examination and transvaginal ultrasonography (TVU) were performed in each case. Any ovarian cysts or masses were identified, and serum Ca-125 levels were recorded.

Results: Of the 51 tamoxifen-treated patients enrolled in this study, 24 were still premenopausal and 27 were postmenopausal when they were monitored for breast cysts during the tamoxifen treatment started after the diagnosis of breast cancer. Their average age was 53.7 (range 31-64) years. The mean duration of tamoxifen therapy was 23.5 (range 8-49) months. Ovarian cysts were diagnosed in nine (17.6%) patients and required surgery in two of these; pathological examination revealed serous cysts of the ovary in both.

Conclusion: : In cases with ovarian cyst formation during tamoxifen treatment of breast cancer, discontinuation of tamoxifen followed by monitoring is quite a reasonable way to proceed in most cases. Surgical intervention should be carried out when cysts are >5 cm in diameter.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Cysts / chemically induced*
  • Ovarian Cysts / pathology
  • Ovarian Cysts / surgery
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tamoxifen / adverse effects*
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen