UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Administration | Neoplasms | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


Importance: 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.

Objective: To update the 2013 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on medications for risk reduction of primary breast cancer.

Evidence Review: 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.

Findings: 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.


breast cancer, risk, screening, recommendations

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© 2019 American Medical Association. Publisher PDF posted after 6 months as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at

DOI of Published Version



JAMA. 2019 Sep 3;322(9):857-867. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.11885. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title



Full list of authors omitted for brevity. For full list see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID