Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Updated USPSTF Recommendation on Medication Use to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

By: Sylvia O'Regan
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its recommendation on medications for reducing the risk of primary breast cancer, advising clinicians to prescribe risk-reducing medications such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors to at-risk patients and to those who are at low risk of adverse medication effects. The statement, published in JAMA, further recommended against the routine use of such medications in women who are not at increased risk for breast cancer.

In updating its 2013 recommendation, the USPSTF reviewed evidence from randomized trials, observational studies, and diagnostic accuracy studies. “The USPSTF found convincing evidence that risk assessment tools can predict the number of cases of breast cancer expected to develop in a population,” the statement said. “However, these risk assessment tools perform modestly at best in discriminating between individual women who will or will not develop breast cancer.”

Evidence showed risk-reducing medications provided “at least a moderate benefit in reducing risk for invasive estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer,” the statement said. Women who were not at increased risk did not benefit from such treatments, it said, adding that the recommendation did not apply to women with a current or previous diagnosis of breast cancer.

See the link below for the full summary of recommendations and evidence.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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