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Breast cancer is the most common nonskin cancer among women in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death. The median age at diagnosis is 62 years, and an estimated 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. African American women are more likely to die of breast cancer compared with women of other races.
To update the 2013 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on medications for risk reduction of primary breast cancer.
The USPSTF reviewed evidence on the accuracy of risk assessment methods to identify women who could benefit from risk-reducing medications for breast cancer, as well as evidence on the effectiveness, adverse effects, and subgroup variations of these medications. The USPSTF reviewed evidence from randomized trials, observational studies, and diagnostic accuracy studies of risk stratification models in women without preexisting breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ.
The USPSTF found convincing evidence that risk assessment tools can predict the number of cases of breast cancer expected to develop in a population. However, these risk assessment tools perform modestly at best in discriminating between individual women who will or will not develop breast cancer. The USPSTF found convincing evidence that risk-reducing medications (tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors) provide 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 USPSTF found that the benefits of taking tamoxifen, raloxifene, and aromatase inhibitors to reduce risk for breast cancer are no greater than small in women not at increased risk for the disease. The USPSTF found convincing evidence that tamoxifen and raloxifene and adequate evidence that aromatase inhibitors are associated with small to moderate harms. Overall, the USPSTF determined that the net benefit of taking medications to reduce risk of breast cancer is larger in women who have a greater risk for developing breast cancer.
Conclusions and Recommendation
The USPSTF recommends that clinicians offer to prescribe risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and at low risk for adverse medication effects. (B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends against the routine use of risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, in women who are not at increased risk for breast cancer. (D recommendation) This recommendation applies to asymptomatic women 35 years and older, including women with previous benign breast lesions on biopsy (such as atypical ductal or lobular hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ). This recommendation does not apply to women who have a current or previous diagnosis of breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ.
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Corresponding Author: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Stanford University, 616 Serra St, Encina Hall, Room C336, Stanford, CA 94305-6019 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Accepted for Publication: July 29, 2019.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Michael J. Barry, MD; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; C. Seth Landefeld, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.
Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, San Francisco (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, New York (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Landefeld); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Wong).
Author Contributions: Dr Owens had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. Dr Barry reported receiving grants and personal fees from Healthwise, a nonprofit, outside the submitted work. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings.
Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.
Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional Contributions: We thank Tina Fan, MD, MPH (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Corey Mackison (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.
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