Effect of Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy on the Development of Pulmonary Fibrosis after Postoperative Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

J Breast Cancer. 2020 Sep 3;23(5):449-459. doi: 10.4048/jbc.2020.23.e48. eCollection 2020 Oct.


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to study the adverse effects of oncological treatment of breast cancer, with one of adverse effects being pulmonary fibrosis (PF). PF is an irreversible condition and can significantly reduce the quality of life. Following lumpectomy, radiotherapy is the standard adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. Additionally, hormone receptor-positive breast cancers are treated with adjuvant hormonal therapy. While radiotherapy is one of the known causes of PF, the effect of hormone therapy on its development is not well-defined. Some studies have shown that the concomitant administration of endocrine therapy, primarily tamoxifen, and irradiation may potentiate the development of PF. However, guidelines regarding the timing of hormone therapy administration with respect to adjuvant radiotherapy are not clearly defined. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the available information regarding the effect of hormone therapy and its timing of administration with respect to adjuvant radiotherapy on the incidence of PF.

Keywords: Breast neoplasms; Hormone antagonists; Pulmonary fibrosis; Radiotherapy; Tamoxifen.

Publication types

  • Review