Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 931–939

Adjuvant endocrine therapy initiation and persistence in a diverse sample of patients with breast cancer


    • University of Michigan
  • T. May Pini
    • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Yun Li
    • University of Michigan
  • Paul H. Abrahamse
    • University of Michigan
  • John J. Graff
    • Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Ann S. Hamilton
    • Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
  • Reshma Jagsi
    • University of Michigan
  • Nancy K. Janz
    • University of Michigan
  • Sarah T. Hawley
    • University of Michigan
  • Steven J. Katz
    • University of Michigan
  • Jennifer J. Griggs
    • University of Michigan

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-013-2499-9

Cite this article as:
Friese, C.R., Pini, T.M., Li, Y. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2013) 138: 931. doi:10.1007/s10549-013-2499-9


Adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer reduces recurrence and improves survival rates. Many patients never start treatment or discontinue prematurely. A better understanding of factors associated with endocrine therapy initiation and persistence could inform practitioners how to support patients. We analyzed data from a longitudinal study of 2,268 women diagnosed with breast cancer and reported to the Metropolitan Detroit and Los Angeles SEER cancer registries in 2005–2007. Patients were surveyed approximately both 9 months and 4 years after diagnosis. At the 4-year mark, patients were asked if they had initiated endocrine therapy, terminated therapy, or were currently taking therapy (defined as persistence). Multivariable logistic regression models examined factors associated with initiation and persistence. Of the 743 patients eligible for endocrine therapy, 80 (10.8 %) never initiated therapy, 112 (15.1 %) started therapy but discontinued prematurely, and 551 (74.2 %) continued use at the second time point. Compared with whites, Latinas (OR 2.80, 95 % CI 1.08–7.23) and black women (OR 3.63, 95 % CI 1.22–10.78) were more likely to initiate therapy. Other factors associated with initiation included worry about recurrence (OR 3.54, 95 % CI 1.31–9.56) and inadequate information about side effects (OR 0.24, 95 % CI 0.10–0.55). Factors associated with persistence included two or more medications taken weekly (OR 4.19, 95 % CI 2.28–7.68) and increased age (OR 0.98, 95 % CI 0.95–0.99). Enhanced patient education about potential side effects and the effectiveness of adjuvant endocrine therapy in improving outcomes may improve initiation and persistence rates and optimize breast cancer survival.


Breast neoplasmsAromatase inhibitorsSelective estrogen receptor modulatorsMedication takingHealth services research

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013