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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Tamoxifen Boosts Fertility

Breast Cancer Patients Get Safe Fertility Treatment


It wasn't until the 1970s that researchers discovered tamoxifen's ability to suppress breast cancer growth -- and the drug became a drug of choice in breast cancer treatment and prevention.

In this current study, 12 women with breast cancer received tamoxifen treatments on the second and third days of their menstrual cycle. There was a total of 15 cycles in these 12 patients. When compared with the control group, the women taking tamoxifen had a greater number of mature eggs and a significantly higher number of embryos. All of the tamoxifen-treated patients generated embryos.

After an average follow-up of 15 months, none of the patients had a recurrence of cancer, he reports.

Celia E. Dominguez, MD, assistant professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, applauds Oktay's work as a "novel idea."

The Cornell researchers are "the experts" in in vitro fertilization, she tells WebMD. "This is a little silver lining, a ray of hope for women who are devastated with news about cancer.

"Any young woman, before she undergoes chemotherapy, needs to see an endocrinologist to discuss fertility," says Dominguez. "Many young women don't realize there are options."

The women in Oktay's study may have had success because the treatment occurred before they had chemotherapy, says Dominguez. "If we can get [these patients] in that window, between surgery and chemotherapy, there is real hope for them."

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