Low risk of recurrence in elderly patients treated with breast conserving therapy in a single institute

Femke van der Leij, Erik van Werkhoven, Sophie Bosma, Sabine C Linn, Emiel J Rutgers, Marc J van de Vijver, Harry Bartelink, Paula H M Elkhuizen, Astrid Scholten
Breast: Official Journal of the European Society of Mastology 2016, 30: 19-25

OBJECTIVES: To guide decision making in preventing over- or under-treatment in older breast cancer patients who have undergone breast conserving surgery, we analyzed prognostic factors and risk of recurrence in a consecutive series of patients ≥ 65 years old with breast cancer and identified subgroups that may benefit or not from more intensive treatment.

METHODS: Patients ≥65 years of age with breast cancer (pT1-2/pN0-2) treated with breast conserving surgery and postoperative radiation therapy at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) between 1980 and 2008 were identified. Endpoints were locoregional recurrence (LRR), distant metastasis (DM) and overall survival (OS). Multivariable analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: 1922 patients with a median age of 70 years were analyzed. The 5- and 10- years LRR rates were 2% and 3% respectively. In multivariable analysis there was no significant factor influencing LRR risk. Patients with low risk tumors (node negative patients with T1 and ER positive, grade 1 or 2) had lower risk of DM (HR 0.26) and better OS (HR 0.65) compared to patients with higher risk tumors (grade 3 and/or node positive).

CONCLUSION: In elderly breast cancer patients the risk of LRR and DM is low. In patients with less favorable characteristics the risk of LRR is equally low, with a higher risk to develop DM and worse OS. Treatment in the low risk group may be minimized, while for the higher risk group adjuvant treatment could be intensified.

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