Survival benefit of tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor in male and female breast cancer



Our goal was to compare the survival advantage of tamoxifen (TAM) and aromatase inhibitor (AI) in female (FBC) and male breast cancer (MBC).

Patients and methods

We performed a retrospective study of 2785 FBC and 257 MBC patients treated with hormonal therapy.


The median follow-up was 106 months (range 3–151 months) and 42 months (range 2–115 months) for FBC and MBC, respectively. The patients were divided into two groups according to the hormonal therapy used: TAM-treated and AI-treated. MBC was characterized by older age, advanced tumor stage, and higher rate of lymph node metastases, in comparison with FBC. Matching analysis was performed using six prognostic criteria: patient age, tumor stage, tumor grade, lymph node status, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) status, and administration of chemotherapy. The female and male patients were matched 2:1. In this analysis, 316 women and 158 men treated with TAM, and 60 women and 30 men treated with AI, were included. The overall survival (OS) was estimated by the Kaplan–Meier method and was compared between FBC and MBC. TAM-treated FBC and MBC patients had similar 5-year OS, 85.1 and 89.2%, respectively (p = 0.972). Notably, FBC patients treated with AI had significantly greater 5-year OS (85.0%) in comparison with AI-treated MBC patients (5-year OS of 73.3%; p = 0.028).


The OS of TAM-treated patients with MBC was similar to the OS of TAM-treated FBC patients, whereas AI treatment is associated with poorer survival of MBC patients.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Holm Eggemann.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This study was not funded.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all patients before treatment. An additional individual consent for this analysis was not needed.

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Eggemann, H., Altmann, U., Costa, S. et al. Survival benefit of tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor in male and female breast cancer. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 144, 337–341 (2018).

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  • Male breast cancer
  • Tamoxifen
  • Aromatase inhibitor