Tamoxifen (TAM) and Toremifene (TOR), two kinds of selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have equal efficacy in breast cancer patients. However, TAM has been proved to affect serum lipid profiles and cause fatty liver disease. The study aimed to compare the effects of TAM and TOR on fatty liver development and lipid profiles.
This study performed a retrospective analysis of 308 SERMs-treated early breast cancer patients who were matched 1:1 based on propensity scores. The follow-up period was 3 years. The primary outcomes were fatty liver detected by ultrasonography or computed tomography (CT), variation in fibrosis indexes, and serum lipid profiles change.
The cumulative incidence rate of new-onset fatty liver was higher in the TAM group than in the TOR group (113.2 vs. 67.2 per 1000 person-years, p < 0.001), and more severe fatty livers occurred in the TAM group (25.5 vs. 7.5 per 1000 person-years, p = 0.003). According to the Kaplan-Meier curves, TAM significantly increased the risk of new-onset fatty liver (25.97% vs. 17.53%, p = 0.0243) and the severe fatty liver (5.84% vs. 1.95%, p = 0.0429). TOR decreased the risk of new-onset fatty liver by 45% (hazard ratio = 0.55, p = 0.020) and showed lower fibrotic burden, independent of obesity, lipid, and liver enzyme levels. TOR increased triglycerides less than TAM, and TOR increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, while TAM did the opposite. No significant differences in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are observed between the two groups.
TAM treatment is significantly associated with more severe fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis, while TOR is associated with an overall improvement in lipid profiles, which supports continuous monitoring of liver imaging and serum lipid levels during SERM treatment