Tumor characteristics and therapy of elderly patients with breast cancer
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Elderly breast cancer patients aged ≥75 years are underrepresented in most studies. Therefore, data on cancer characteristics, adjuvant treatment and survival in elderly patients are missing.
Patients and methods
In this retrospective study, we compared tumor characteristics and adjuvant therapy in 973 women with invasive, non-metastasized breast cancer aged ≥75 years with 3377 younger postmenopausal patients (50–74 years old). Time dynamics of tumor characteristics were investigated, comparing two observation periods between the years 2000–2004 versus 2005–2008.
Compared to younger women, older patients were more often treated with mastectomy and less likely to receive adjuvant treatment. Although the overall survival rate increased over the observation period in both age groups, the older study group was characterized by shorter disease-free survival. Additionally, we observed an increase in about 1.65 years in the age at diagnosis as well as an increasing rate of breast-conserving surgery and sentinel lymph node biopsy for the whole study population between 2000 and 2008. Furthermore, we found a reduction in the proportion of estrogen receptor-positive tumors in the younger women and a decrease in G3-tumors in both age groups over the study time.
The older group’s reduced disease-free survival could be explained by the tumor characteristics and differences in the adjuvant treatment. Remarkably, elderly women are more likely to be overtreated surgically while being undertreated in terms of adjuvant therapy.
KeywordsBreast cancer Elderly patients Adjuvant treatment
We thank Elke Burger and all employees of the Magdeburg cancer registry who helped us with the collection, management and storage of the presented data. We especially thank all physicians who transmitted patient data into the Magdeburg cancer registry, enabling scientific use of this information.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Written informed consent was obtained from all patients before treatment. An additional individual consent for this analysis was not needed.
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