Local hormone therapy for genitourinary syndrome of menopause in breast cancer patients: is it safe?

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017 Jun;33(6):418-420. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2017.1290076. Epub 2017 Feb 21.


The genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) is a frequent complaint among breast cancer (BC) survivors that lead to an important affection of their quality of life (QoL). Lifestyle measures such as smoking cessation or regular sexual activity are usually insufficient to significantly improve GMS and although therapies such as lubricants and polycarbophil moisturized gels are considered first-line therapies to alleviate symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, these non-hormonal options are not able to reverse atrophy once it occurs. Instead, this complaint is corrected by local estrogens. The estrogen vaginal treatment usually used to treat GSM, is an issue of concern in this group due to the possible negative effect over the BC outcomes. On the other hand, the worsening of QoL in these patients due to symptoms related to GSM can lead to discontinuation of hormone adjuvant therapies and therefore must be addressed properly. The goal of this review is to contribute to health care professionals to make an informed decision to care for their BC patients.

Keywords: Breast cancer; genitourinary syndrome; hormonal therapy; local estrogen therapy; ospemifene; promestriene; vulvovaginal atrophy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage*
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage*
  • Estrogens / analogs & derivatives
  • Female
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / chemically induced
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Menopause, Premature
  • Tamoxifen / administration & dosage
  • Tamoxifen / analogs & derivatives


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Estrogens
  • Tamoxifen
  • Estradiol
  • Ospemifene