The use of tamoxifen in patients with DCIS
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I underwent a lumpectomy recently (age 52). The pathology report said I had DCIS as well as LCIS. There's no testing to see if I'm estrogen receptor positive or negative. I'm scheduled to receive 6 weeks of radiation therapy.
The oncologist suggested that I take tamoxifen for 5 years after radiation. My mother suffered a paralyzing stroke from blood clot at age 62. I haven't decided if I should take tamoxifen because of the many side effects. Is the ER factor a consideration in my case? I've already gone through menopause.
Kevin Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
The benefits of using tamoxifen in patients with Ductal Carcinoma In situ (DCIS) was demonstrated in clinical trials without testing for estrogen or progesterone receptors. Therefore, it is routinely recommended to DCIS patients without testing the receptors. The risk of stroke from tamoxifen is probably negligible, and your mother's stroke history should not be a deterrent.