Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 635–645 | Cite as

Use of antidepressants and the risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis

  • Chun-Sick Eom
  • Sang Min ParkEmail author
  • Kyung-Hwan Cho


The goal of this study was to perform a meta-analysis to examine the association between the use of antidepressants (AD) and the risk of breast cancer. We searched the EMBASE and MEDLINE databases from inception through February 25, 2012, using search terms related to ADs and breast cancer. Two evaluators independently reviewed and selected articles and extracted data based on predetermined selection criteria. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by using random- and fixed effects meta-analyses. Of the 3,209 titles identified, 18 articles met the inclusion criteria. The overall risk of breast cancer did not increase among AD users [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.02; 95 % CI 0.96–1.08]. Those who took tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were not at increased risks of breast cancer. In subgroup meta-analyses, null associations were consistent across the type of AD, funding sources, the number of adjusted variables, medication dose, the ascertainment of exposure, and methodological quality. In subgroup analyses based on exposure duration, a marginal association was observed for the use of SSRIs < 1–2 years (aOR 1.10; 95 % CI 1.02–1.19). However, this effect was attenuated over time and those using SSRIs for more than 1–2 years had no elevated breast cancer risk. These results support the lack of a clinically meaningful association between AD use and the development of breast cancer and provide considerable reassurance. Given that the data collected to date do not support changing the current prescribing patterns for ADs, the important benefits of AD therapy must be considered.


Antidepressants Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors Tricyclic antidepressants Breast cancer Meta-analysis 



This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Government (grant number 2012-0003761).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineHallym University Chuncheon Sacred Heart HospitalChuncheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University HospitalSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine, Korea University HospitalKorea University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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