Management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer receiving ovarian function suppression

Cancer Treat Rev. 2017 Jan;52:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2016.11.012. Epub 2016 Dec 5.


Most breast cancers express estrogen and/or progesterone receptors, allowing the opportunity to use anti-estrogen therapies, which have demonstrated substantial efficacy in both the metastatic and adjuvant settings. Young premenopausal women with early-stage high-risk or with metastatic hormone-receptor positive breast cancer may benefit from ovarian function suppression in addition to anti-estrogen medications. While these endocrine manipulations have successfully improved breast cancer outcomes, they may lead to a significant proportion of women experiencing vasomotor symptoms. While not life-threatening, vasomotor symptoms adversely impact quality of life and can result in early treatment discontinuation. For these reasons, supportive management of this treatment-related toxicity is crucial, and clinicians caring for breast cancer patients and survivors should be familiar with the options available and the data behind them. This manuscript will review the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, quality of life implications and non-estrogenic management options of vasomotor symptoms for women with breast cancer undergoing estrogen depletion.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Estrogen; Hot flashes; Hot flushes; Tamoxifen; Vasomotor symptoms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Estrogen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Tamoxifen