Effects of tamoxifen on urinary incontinence: Case report and review of literature

Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Aug;96(34):e6785. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006785.


Rationale: Tamoxifen has been used in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and has been shown to successfully reduce both recurrence and mortality. On the contrary, long-term use of tamoxifen has hormone-related urogenital side effects which decrease the quality of life of the patients.

Patient concerns: In this case report, we present a breast cancer patient receiving tamoxifen who developed urinary incontinence; we discuss the effects of tamoxifen on urinary incontinence, which decreases quality of life of the patients who were evaluated in our clinic.

Diagnoses: Breast cancer, urinary incontinence.

Interventions: Temporarily discontinuing tamoxifen.

Outcomes: Urinary incontinence resolved.

Lessons: Based on the case we reported and literature, estrogen can cause a dose-dependent increase in incontinence, but more preclinical and clinical studies of both estrogen and SERMs are needed to support this notion; given the fact that some small-scale clinical studies have not proven a direct relationship between tamoxifen and urinary incontinence. We suggest that clinicians faced with the issue should temporarily stop usage of the drug once the complaint of urinary incontinence arises.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Tamoxifen / adverse effects*
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use
  • Urinary Incontinence / chemically induced*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen