Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Font Size

    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."

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Woman getting mammogram
    Screening Tests for Women
    serious woman
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    what is your cancer risk
    breast cancer survivors