Medical Oncology

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 117–121 | Cite as

Effects of tamoxifen on bone mineral density and metabolism in postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer

  • Jamal Zidan
  • Zohar Keidar
  • Walid Basher
  • Ora Israel
Original Article


At the present time, tamoxifen is the most widely used anti-estrogen for adjuvant therapy and metastatic disease in postmenopausal women with breast cancer, a population at high risk for osteoporosis. This prospective study was designed to evaluate the effect of adjuvant tamoxifen on bone mineral density and all biochemical markers concomitantly in women with early-stage breast cancer in one study.

Using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, prior to and 12 mo after tamoxifen treatment, bone mineral density in lumbar spine and femoral neck was measured in 44 women with T1-T2N0M0 estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer receiving adjuvant treatment with tamoxifen 20 mg/d. Biomarkers that can affect bone mineral metabolism were measured before and after 3 and 12 mo of tamoxifen treatment. Bone mineral density was minimally increased in lumbar spine and femoralneck after 12 mo treatment with tamoxifen (p=0.79 and 0.55, respectively). No differences were found in serum levels of calcium, phosphate, creatinine, ALAT, albumin, LDH, calcitonin, or estradiol. A significant decrease in osteocalcin levels was found after 3 and 12 mo (p≤0.01). TSH and PTH levels were increased (p≤0.05) after 3 mo, returning to baseline after 12 mo. In conclusion, tamoxifen has an estrogen-like effect on bone metabolism in postmenopausal women and is associated with preservation of bone mineral density in lumbar spine and femoral neck. Changes in serum concentration of biochemical markers may reflect decreased bone turnover or bone remodeling and add to the understanding of tamoxifen’s effect on bone mineral density.

Key Words

Breast cancer tamoxifen bone mineral density metabolism 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamal Zidan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zohar Keidar
    • 3
  • Walid Basher
    • 1
  • Ora Israel
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Oncology UnitSieff Government HospitalSafedIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineTechnion Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear MedicineRambam Medical CenterHaifaIsrael

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