Medications to decrease the risk for breast cancer in women: recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement

Ann Intern Med. 2013 Nov 19;159(10):698-708. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-159-10-201311190-00717.


Description: Update of the 2002 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on the use of medications for breast cancer risk reduction.

Methods: The USPSTF reviewed evidence on the effectiveness,adverse effects, and subgroup variations of medications to reduce the risk for breast cancer—specifically, the selective estrogen receptor modulators tamoxifen and raloxifene. The USPSTF also reviewed a meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials to understand the relative benefits and harms of tamoxifen and raloxifene.

Population: This recommendation applies to asymptomatic women aged 35 years or older without a prior diagnosis of breast cancer,ductal carcinoma in situ, or lobular carcinoma in situ.

Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends that clinicians engage in shared, informed decision making with women who are at increased risk for breast cancer about medications to reduce their risk.For women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and at low risk for adverse medication effects, clinicians should offer to prescribe risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene. (B recommendation)The USPSTF recommends against the routine use of medications,such as tamoxifen or raloxifene, for risk reduction of primary breast cancer in women who are not at increased risk for breast cancer. (D recommendation).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomedical Research
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride / adverse effects
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / adverse effects
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use*
  • Tamoxifen / adverse effects
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use*


  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Tamoxifen
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride