Cyclic and non-cyclic breast-pain: A systematic review on pain reduction, side effects, and quality of life for various treatments

Jan-Willem Groen*, Sissi Grosfeld, JA Wilschut, Wichor M Bramer, Miranda F Ernst, Magriet M Mullender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


CYCLIC AND NON-CYCLIC BREAST-PAIN: A systematic review on pain reduction, side effects, and quality of life for various treatments.

BACKGROUND: No clear systematic-review on all the various treatment regimen for (Non-) cyclical-breast-pain currently exists.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the various forms of therapy for treatment of breast-pain and the evidence for their effectiveness.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Search-terms included 'mastalgia' and 'therapy' or 'hormones' or 'nsaid' or 'psychotherapy' or 'analgesia' or 'surgery', and synonyms.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic-reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. RCT's and pro-/retrospective studies reporting on treatment of breast-pain were considered eligible. Minimal follow-up and sample-size criteria were 6 months and 10 patients respectively.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data was extracted using standardized tables and encompassed number of subjects, type of breast-pain and treatment, efficacy of treatment and clinical complications/side-effects. No pooling of data could be achieved due to heterogeneity amongst studies.

MAIN RESULTS: Twenty-three studies were included, that reported on 2100 patients in total. Topical-Diclofenac was found to reduce pain by 58.7 and 63.3 on a Visual-Analogue-Scale (VAS) in cyclical and non-cyclical-breast-pain respectively. Persistent cyclical-breast-pain can be treated with short courses (2-6 months) of either Bromocryptine (VAS↓=25.4) or Danazol (VAS↓=33.6) as long as benefits outweigh the side-effects. Last-resort options for unresponsive and severe debilitating breast-pain include surgery in the form of bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.

CONCLUSIONS: Pain reduction in patients with breast-pain can be achieved with analgesics, hormonal-regimen and possibly surgery as a last resort. Additional studies are needed with well-described patient-characteristics, robust study set-up, and longer follow-up times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-93
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Cite this