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.