Tamoxifen and Toremifene-Fareston

These anti-estrogen drugs work by temporarily blocking estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells, preventing estrogen from binding to them and spurring their growth. They are taken daily as a pill.

Large studies of women with hormone receptor-positive cancers removed completely with surgery, show that taking tamoxifen after surgery for 5 years reduces the chances of the cancer coming back by about half. Taking it for 10 years may help even more. Studies in men with breast cancer have been smaller, but indicate that taking tamoxifen after surgery for early stage breast cancer can lower the chance of the cancer coming back and improve survival.

Tamoxifen can also be used to treat metastatic breast cancer.

Toremifene works like tamoxifen, but is not used as often and is only approved for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The most common side effects include fatigue, hot flashes, and sexual problems. Blood clots, which usually form in deep veins of the leg (called deep venous thrombosis or DVT), are a rare but serious side effect of these drugs. In some cases, a piece of clot may break off and end up causing a blockage in the lungs (called a pulmonary embolismor PE). Call your doctor or nurse right away if you develop pain, redness, or swelling in your lower leg (calf), shortness of breath, or chest pain.

Tamoxifen has rarely been associated with strokes. These mostly have been seen in post-menopausal women, and the risk in men is not clear. Still, tell your doctor if you have a sudden severe headache, confusion, or trouble speaking or moving.

Tamoxifen may also increase the risk of heart attacks in some patients, however this link is not clear.

Aromatase inhibitors


Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone-LHRH analogs and anti-androgens



Possible side effects of hormone therapy


Targeted therapy for breast cancer in men

Bone-directed therapy for breast cancer in men


Coping and support for male breast cancer


Related Topics

Benign breast conditions

General breast cancer terms

Types of breast cancer in men







Oncologists, Breast Surgeons are the specialists who deal with the breast cancer