Medical Oncology

, 33:19 | Cite as

Ethnic differences in initiation and timing of adjuvant endocrine therapy among older women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer enrolled in Medicare Part D

Original Paper


The aim of this study was to determine whether there are racial/ethnic differences in initiation and timing of adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) after Medicare Part D drug coverage. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare-linked data to assess ethnic, socio-demographic, and tumor characteristic variations in the initiation of AET among patients ≥65 with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in 2007–2009 enrolled in Medicare Part D through 2010. Logistic regression models were performed to assess the association between race/ethnicity and the initiation of tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors (AIs), and overall AET (tamoxifen or AIs) within the first 12 months of diagnosis. Of the 12,198 women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, 74.8 % received AET within 12 months of diagnosis, of which 17.3 % received tamoxifen and 82.8 % received AIs. After controlling for all variables, only Asian women were found to have a greater odds of initiation of overall AET compared to non-Hispanic white women (odds ratio (OR): 1.28, 95 % CI: 1.03–1.58). Hispanic Mexicans and non-Hispanic black patients had a significantly lower odds of tamoxifen initiation (0.70, 0.54–0.91; 0.25, 0.10–0.62). For AI initiation, Hispanic Mexicans and Asians had a higher odds compared to non-Hispanic white women (2.06, 1.34–3.10; 1.33, 1.11–1.61). A suboptimal proportion of women (25.2 %) did not initiate AET within 12 months of diagnosis and therefore did not receive the full benefits of treatment to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality. Racial/ethnic differences in the initiation of tamoxifen and AIs have important implications that require further investigation.


Breast cancer Adjuvant endocrine therapy Initiation Hormone receptor-positive 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public HealthThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)HoustonUSA

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