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Hemorrhage risk among patients with breast cancer receiving concurrent direct oral anticoagulants with tamoxifen vs aromatase inhibitors


Importance — Tamoxifen is commonly used as adjuvant therapy in breast cancer and is proposed to interfere with cytochrome P450 enzyme and P-glycoprotein pathways. Concurrent use with direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) poses the threat of a potentially dangerous drug-drug interaction by leading to an increase in hemorrhage risk.

— To assess the risk of hemorrhage in patients with breast cancer coprescribed a DOAC and tamoxifen compared with a DOAC and an aromatase inhibitor (AI).

Design, Setting, and Participants — This population-based, retrospective cohort study was conducted among adults aged 66 years or older who were prescribed tamoxifen (compared with an AI) concurrently with a DOAC in Ontario, Canada, between June 23, 2009, and November 30, 2020, and followed up until December 31, 2020.

Interventions — Concurrent prescription of a DOAC and tamoxifen compared with a DOAC and an AI.

Main Outcomes and Measures — The primary outcome was major hemorrhage requiring an emergency department visit or hospitalization after prescription. Overlap weighted Cox proportional hazards models, accounting for multiple covariates, were used to assess the association between hemorrhage and tamoxifen or AI use with a DOAC.

Results — Among a total of 4753 patients (4679 [98.4%] women; mean [SD] age, 77.4 [7.4] years), 1179 (24.8%) were prescribed tamoxifen, and 3574 (75.2%) were prescribed an AI. Rivaroxaban (2530 [53.2%]) and apixaban (1665 [35.0%]) were the most frequently used DOACs. Patients taking AIs were younger than patients taking tamoxifen (mean [SD] age, 77.1 [7.3] vs 78.3 [7.6] years), with higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (mean [SD], 1.8 [2.4] vs 1.5 [2.2]) and more advanced cancer stage (stages III and IV, 569 [15.9%] vs 127 [10.8%]). During a median follow-up of 166 days (IQR, 111-527 days), tamoxifen was not associated with a higher risk of major hemorrhage (29 of 1179 [2.5%]) compared with an AI (119 of 3574 [3.3%]) when combined with a DOAC (absolute risk difference, −0.8%; weighted hazard ratio, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.44-1.06]). These results were similar in additional analyses using a more liberal definition of hemorrhage, accounting for kidney function, limiting follow-up to 90 days, stratifying by incident and prevalent DOAC users, and accounting for cancer duration and the competing risk of death.

Conclusions and Relevance — In this cohort study, findings suggest that among DOAC users, the concurrent use of tamoxifen was not associated with a higher risk of hemorrhage compared with the concurrent use of an AI. These findings should directly inform prescribers regarding the apparent safety of concurrent DOAC and tamoxifen use.



Wang TF, Clarke AE, Awan AA, Tanuseputro P, Carrier M, Sood MM. JAMA Netw Open. 2022; 5(6):e2219128. Epub 2022 Jun 28.

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