Long term adjuvant endocrine therapy and risk of cardiovascular disease in female breast cancer survivors: systematic review.

Matthews, A. ; Stanway, S. ; Farmer, R.E. ; Strongman, H. ; Thomas, S. ; Lyon, A.R. ; Smeeth, L. ; Bhaskaran, K. ;
Long term adjuvant endocrine therapy and risk of cardiovascular disease in female breast cancer survivors: systematic review.
BMJ, 2018; 363:k3845

To investigate the effect of endocrine therapies on a wide range of specific clinical cardiovascular disease outcomes in women with a history of non-metastatic breast cancer.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies.

Medline and Embase up until June 2018.

Studies were included if they investigated the risk of a specific cardiovascular disease outcome associated with use of either tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor, or compared the two treatments, in women with a history of non-metastatic breast cancer.

Relevant studies were originally identified and results extracted by one researcher, with a full replication of the study identification process by a combination of two other researchers. The Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias was used to assess risk of bias in randomised controlled trials, and this tool was adapted to assess risk of bias in observational studies.

26 studies were identified, with results for seven specific cardiovascular disease outcomes (venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, stroke, angina, heart failure, arrhythmia, and peripheral vascular disease). Results suggested an increased risk of venous thromboembolism in tamoxifen users compared with both non-users and aromatase inhibitor users. Results were also consistent with a higher risk of the vascular diseases myocardial infarction and angina in aromatase inhibitor users compared with tamoxifen users, but there was also a suggestion that this may be partly driven by a protective effect of tamoxifen on these outcomes. Data were limited, and evidence was generally inconsistent for all other cardiovascular disease outcomes.

This review has collated substantial randomised controlled trial and observational evidence on the effect of endocrine therapies on several specific cardiovascular disease outcomes including venous thromboembolism and myocardial infarction, progressing knowledge. Although the choice of aromatase inhibitor or tamoxifen will primarily be based on the effectiveness against the recurrence of breast cancer, this review shows that the individual patient’s risk of venous or arterial vascular disease should be an important secondary consideration.

Prospero CRD42017065944.