Toremifene for breast cancer: A review of 20 years of data

Charles L. Vogel, Mary Ann Johnston, Christi Capers, Deborah Braccia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Endocrine therapy is a cornerstone of medical treatment for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. The discovery of selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) > 40 years ago represented a revolutionary advance in the treatment of breast cancer. As a therapeutic class, SERMs have either estrogenic or antiestrogenic activity, depending on the target tissue and the hormonal environment. In breast tissue, SERMs are antiestrogenic, making them a major treatment option for women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Toremifene citrate was developed > 20 years ago with the goal of achieving efficacy similar to that of tamoxifen and with an improved safety profile. Although studies to date have not confirmed a clear safety advantage or disadvantage for toremifene, clinical data support the efficacy and safety of toremifene for the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal patients. Toremifene also has a pharmacokinetic profile and metabolic pathway different from that of tamoxifen, which may provide a therapeutic advantage in certain patients. In addition, because of the selective estrogenic effects of SERMs in bone and on lipid levels along with a different side effect profile compared with the aromatase inhibitors (AIs), toremifene is a viable option to the AIs for some patients. Despite a number of clinical trials and over 500,000 patient years of use, many oncologists have limited familiarity with toremifene data. This article will examine the rationale for the use of toremifene in the treatment of women with breast cancer and review data from 20 years of clinical experience with this agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalClinical breast cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Breast cancer hormonal therapy, CYP2D6, Selective estrogen receptor modulators
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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