Effect of tamoxifen on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in postmenopausal women with breast cancer

Cancer. 1994 Feb 1;73(3):659-63. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19940201)73:3<659::aid-cncr2820730325>3.0.co;2-h.


Background: Adjuvant tamoxifen therapy is given to large and increasing numbers of women with early-stage breast cancer. The effects of this drug on plasma lipids and lipoprotein profiles are important, because cardiovascular disease also develops over time in a large percentage of tamoxifen-treated postmenopausal women. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of tamoxifen on plasma lipid and lipoprotein profiles in postmenopausal Indian women who were disease-free after primary treatment for breast cancer.

Methods: A short-term evaluation of 6 months of tamoxifen therapy (10 mg twice a day) in 45 postmenopausal women was conducted. The plasma lipids and lipoprotein levels were evaluated before and after 3 and 6 months of tamoxifen treatment.

Results: At 3 and 6 months' evaluation, patients receiving tamoxifen showed significantly decreased levels of total cholesterol, free cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < 0.001 for each) and increased levels of plasma triglycerides, free fatty acids, very low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Conclusion: The results suggest that tamoxifen therapy benefits postmenopausal patients with breast cancer, with likely reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phospholipids / blood
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Tamoxifen / administration & dosage
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Phospholipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cholesterol