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The prevalence of frailty among breast cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract

Purpose

Coexistence of frailty and breast cancer (BC) is related to a higher risk of hospitalization, mortality, and falls. Given the potential reversibility of frailty, investigating its epidemiology in BC is of great importance. However, estimates of the prevalence of frailty in BC patients vary considerably. We synthesized the existing body of literature on the prevalence of frailty among BC patients.

Methods

We searched English databases (Cochrane Library, PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science) and Chinese databases (CNKI, WanFang, CBM, and VIP database) from the inception to April 15, 2021, and collected observational studies about the prevalence of frailty among BC patients. The robustness of the pooled estimates was validated by analysis of different subgroups, meta-regression, and sensitivity. All data were analyzed using Stata 15.1.

Results

In total, 4645 articles were screened and data from 24 studies involving 13,510 subjects were used in the meta-analysis. The prevalence of frailty among BC patients in individual studies varied from 5 to 71%. The pooled prevalence of frailty was 43% (95% confidence intervals (CI): 36% to 50%, I2 = 98.4%, P < 0.05). Subgroup analyses revealed that the therapeutic method, frailty scales, age, frailty stage, regions, publication years, and study quality were associated with the prevalence of frailty among BC patients.

Conclusions

The prevalence of frailty among BC patients was relatively high, and the conditions of BC treatment can increase the risk of frailty. Understanding the effects of frailty on BC, especially in elderly patients, can provide the healthcare personnel with the theoretical basis for patients’ management and treatment.

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Data availability

Not applicable, no person’s data.

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The conception and design of the review: all authors. Literature retrieval: Shurui Wang, Ting Yang. Literature screening: Shurui Wang, Ting Yang, Aomei Shen. Quality assessment: Shurui Wang, Ting Yang, Aomei Shen. Data analysis: Shurui Wang, Wanmin Qiang, Zihan Zhao, Aomei Shen. Writing—original draft: Shurui Wang; writing—review and editing: all authors.

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Correspondence to Wanmin Qiang.

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Wang, S., Yang, T., Qiang, W. et al. The prevalence of frailty among breast cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Support Care Cancer 30, 2993–3006 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06641-8

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Keywords

  • Breast neoplasm
  • Frailty
  • Prevalence
  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis