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.
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