Antidepressant Use and Breast Cancer Risk

Depression and antidepressant use have each been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk, yet previous studies have not considered these factors together.  A new prospective study, including data from a cohort of 77,482 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, looking at both factors together has found that use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by women diagnosed with depression may be associated with a small (16%) borderline significant increase in breast cancer risk.  This association held for SSRIs but not for other classes of antidepressants.  The study authors report that while depression itself was not associated with breast cancer risk, a slight increase in risk of developing breast cancer association with SSRI use could not be excluded.


Reeves KW, Okereke O, Qian J, Hankinson SE. Depression and antidepressant use in relation to breast cancer risk in the Nurses Health Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015;24(4):761-2. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0107

Please see previous recent posting about PREVENTING breast cancer.