Use of adjuvant tamoxifen did not increase risk for cataracts in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), according to results of a study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Tamoxifen was first associated with ocular toxicities in 1978. However, data since that time have not clearly related tamoxifen with poor ocular outcomes.

This study was designed to evaluate cataract risk among tamoxifen recipients on a nationwide scale. Data were sourced from the Korean National Health Insurance claims database. All women (4464 cases) with DCIS diagnosed between 2009 and 2015 were evaluated for incidence of cataracts on the basis of receiving tamoxifen. A matching approach was used to balance for differences between women who received and did not receive tamoxifen.

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The matched women who did (1597) and did not (1597) receive tamoxifen were mean age 47.914 to 48.16 years and 88.67% to 89.17% underwent breast-conserving surgery.

During an average follow-up of 85.8 months, the proportion of women who developed a cataract was similar between the tamoxifen recipients (13.09%) and the nonrecipients (13.84%; P =.176).

In the multivariate analysis, tamoxifen was not associated with cataract risk (hazard ratio [HR], 1.060; 95% CI, 0.876-1.282; P =.549). Risk for cataracts was associated with age (HR, 1.102; 95% CI, 1.090-1.114; P <.001) and tended to be associated with hyperlipidemia (HR, 1.217; 95% CI, 0.983-1.505; P =.071).

Risk for developing and undergoing surgery for cataracts was associated with age (HR, 1.111; 95% CI, 1.096-1.125; P <.001) and diabetes (HR, 1.381; 95% CI, 1.008-1.893; P =.045) but not tamoxifen (HR, 1.164; 95% CI, 0.912-1.487; P =.223).

This study was limited because duration of tamoxifen treatment could not be confirmed.

These data indicated that 5 years of standard tamoxifen treatment did not increase risk for cataract diagnosis and surgery in the setting of DCIS.


Yoon CI, Lee HS, Jeon S, Kim D, Park WC. Relationship between tamoxifen and cataracts: a nationwide cohort study of women in South Korea. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2023;197(3):603-612. doi:10.1007/s10549-022-06765-3