Background: Many women at increased risk for breast cancer could benefit from preventive therapy. Preventive therapy options for breast cancer risk reduction have expanded in the last few years to include both selective receptor modulators (tamoxifen and raloxifene) and aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole and exemestane).
Methods: Risk factors that place women at high risk for breast cancer, as well as risk calculation models appropriate for the selection of candidates for preventive therapy, are presented, followed by a review of current guidelines for chemoprevention and results of chemoprevention trials.
Results: The modified Gail model or Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool is the most widely utilized risk assessment calculator to determine eligibility for chemoprevention. Women most likely to benefit from preventive therapy include those at high risk under the age of 50 years and those with atypical hyperplasia. Physician and patient barriers limit widespread acceptance and adherence to preventive therapy.
Conclusions: Published guidelines on chemoprevention for breast cancer have been updated to increase awareness and encourage discussion between patients and their physicians regarding evidence-based studies evaluating the benefits of preventive options for women at increased risk for breast cancer. However, even with increasing awareness and established benefits of preventive therapy, the uptake of chemoprevention has been low, with both physician and patient barriers identified. It is prudent that these barriers be overcome to enable high-risk women with a favorable risk-to-benefit ratio to be offered chemoprevention to reduce their likelihood of developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.