taking Collagen Supplements with Tamoxifen


I am on my 4th year on Tamoxifen, diagnosed with Breast Cancer 2016.  Due to treatments, my skin is looking dull and my nails are brittle.  I am not sure if I have reached the menopause yet (diagnosed at the age of 44).  I took up jogging last year and have runners knee. I was told collagen supplements may help my joints and skin. I was told that collagen supplement increased the risk of breast cancer returning and you should not take it orally whilst on tamoxifen.  Is this true? 

Thanks x 


Thank you for your post.

I am sorry you haven’t had any response yet. I am hoping my response will help our members to see your post and share their experience and/or advice.

In the meantime, please remember that for any clinical questions, our breast care nurses are here and happy to talk things through.

Sending you our best wishes,



I would like to know if supplements are ok to take after breast cancer treatment especially collagen. I have joint pain and would like to know what is safe to take. I am also on statins as my cholesterol is  high through genetics and not lifestyle 

Thank you 

I have been wondering the same thing myself. I am 46, 2.5 years post double mastectomy with 2 different types of estrogen positive cancers. I have not gotten a straight answer yet, but I did find an article, which makes me very wary…

Here is an excerpt from the article. P.S. I have been on tamoxifen for 3 years…

A 2013 study [3] found that DDR2, a protein that sits on the surface of tumor cells and binds to collagen, activates a pathway that encourages the spread and invasiveness of tumor cells. Researchers stated that DDR2 might very well be a good therapeutic target for treating metastasized breast cancer.

A 2014 paper [4] in _Tumour Biology_stated “While collagen was traditionally regarded as a passive barrier to resist tumor cells, it is now evident that collagen is also actively involved in promoting tumor progression. Collagen changes in tumor microenvironment release biomechanical signals, which are sensed by both tumor cells and stromal cells, trigger a cascade of biological events. In this work, we discuss how collagen can be a double-edged sword in tumor progression, both inhibiting and promoting tumor progression at different stages of cancer development.”

Another 2014 paper [5] stated that both hyaluronan (another glycoprotein found in the ECM) and collagen VI are upregulated (promoted) in breast cancer, generating a microenvironment that promotes the progression of a tumor and also metastasis. 

In her 2015 YouTube video “Understanding the Role of Collagen in Breast Cancer” [6], Dr Patricia Kelly explains that breast cancer cells use the collagen network in order to travel to other parts of the body. 

A 2016 article in Science Signaling [7] stated that TM4SF1 (a protein encoded by the gene TM4SF1) promoted the reactivation of dormant breast cancer cells in the lung, bone, and brain by promoting signaling when cells came into contact with type I collagen. Also, high TM4SF1 expression correlated with reduced metastasis-free survival in breast cancer patients, and that for those who had high expression of TM4SF1, this was highly predictive of their breast cancer recurrence.

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