Older age and comorbidity in breast cancer: is RT alone the new therapeutic frontier?


Older age and comorbidity in breast cancer: is RT alone the new therapeutic frontier?


E. La Rocca, E. Meneghini, L. Lozza, A. Fiorentino, A. Vitullo, C. Giandini, F. Bonfantini, S. Di Cosimo, M. Gennaro, M. Sant, E. Pignoli, R. Valdagni & Maria Carmen De Santis 



To assess the impact of age, comorbidities and endocrine therapy (ET) in older breast cancer (BC) patients treated with hypofractionated radiotherapy (Hypo-RT).


From June 2009 to December 2017, we enrolled in this study 735 ER-positive BC patients (stage pT1–T2, pNx–1, M0 and age ≥ 65 years) receiving hypo-RT and followed them until September 2019. Baseline comorbidities included in the hypertension-augmented Charlson Comorbidity Index were retrospectively retrieved. Logistic regression model estimated adjusted-odds ratios (ORs) of ET prescription in relation to baseline patient and tumor characteristics. Competing risk analysis estimated 5-year cumulative incidence function (CIF) of ET discontinuation due to side effects (with BC progression or death as competing events), and its effect on locoregional recurrence (LRR) and distant metastasis (DM) (with death as competing event).


ET has been prescribed in 89% patients. In multivariable analysis, the odds of ET prescription was significantly reduced in older patients (≥ 80 years, OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.03–0.20) and significantly increased in patients with moderate comorbidity. Patients ≥ 80 years discontinued the prescribed therapy earlier and more frequently than younger (65–69 years) patients (p = 0.060). Five-year CIF of LLR, DM and death from causes other that BC were 1.7%, 2.2% and 7.5%, respectively. Patients who discontinued ET had higher chance of LRR (p = 0.004). ET use did not impact on OS in any of the analyzed groups.


In older patients, ET did not show a benefit in terms of overall survival. Further studies focusing on tailored treatment approaches are warranted to offer the best care in terms of adjuvant treatment to these patients.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s00432-020-03243-5