Use of antidepressant medications in relation to the incidence of breast cancer

Br J Cancer. 2006 Apr 10;94(7):1071-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603017.


Although associations have been reported between antidepressant use and risk of breast cancer, the findings have been inconsistent. We conducted a population-based case-control study among women enrolled in Group Health Cooperative (GHC), a health maintenance organization in Washington State. Women with a first primary breast cancer diagnosed between 1990 and 2001 were identified (N = 2904) and five controls were selected for each case (N = 14396). Information on antidepressant use was ascertained through the GHC pharmacy database and on breast cancer risk factors and screening mammograms from GHC records. Prior to one year before diagnosis of breast cancer, about 20% of cases and controls had used tricyclic antidepressants (adjusted odds ratio = 1.06, 95% CI 0.94-1.19) and 6% of each group had used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (OR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.80-1.18). There also were no differences between cases and controls with regard to the number of prescriptions filled or the timing of use. Taken as a whole, the results from this and other studies to date do not indicate an altered risk of breast cancer associated with the use of antidepressants overall, by class, or for individual antidepressants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Antidepressive Agents