The Breast Cancer Prevention Trial: Evaluating Tamoxifen's Efficacy in Preventing Breast Cancer

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ObjectiveTo review the literature on tamoxifen and breast cancer, focusing on the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT).Data SourcesComputerized searches on MEDLINE and CINAHL.Study SelectionArticles from indexed journals in the English language related to the topics in this review and published after 1983 (except for earlier classic pieces) were evaluated.Data ExtractionData were extracted and information was organized under the following headings: magnitude of the problem of breast cancer, definition of chemoprevention, tamoxifen's mode of action, risks and benefits, use as an adjuvant and in chemoprevention, the BCPT, study protocol, pros and cons, and nursing implications.Data SynthesisThe BCPT is a study testing tamoxifen's ability to prevent the development of breast cancer in healthy women at increased risk for developing the disease. About 16,000 women who are age 35 years or older are being randomized to receive oral tamoxifen (20 mg/day) or placebo for an initial period of 5 years.ConclusionsThe BCPT will contribute to our knowledge about tamoxifen's ability to prevent breast cancer in women at increased risk. Nurses have a role to play in implementing this strategy to find a means for preventing breast cancer.

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