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Bridging the age gap in breast cancer: impact of omission of breast cancer surgery in older women with oestrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer on quality-of-life outcomes

Morgan, J. L., Shrestha, A., Reed, M. W. R., Herbert, E., Bradburn, M., Walters, S. J., Martin, C., Collins, K., Ward, S., Holmes, G., Burton, M., Lifford, K. ORCID:, Edwards, A. ORCID:, Ring, A., Robinson, T., Chater, T., Pemberton, K., Brennan, A., Cheung, K. L., Todd, A., Audisio, R., Wright, J., Simcock, R., Thomson, A. M., Gosney, M., Hatton, M., Green, T., Revill, D., Gath, J., Horgan, K., Holcombe, C., Winter, M. C., Naik, J., Parmeschwar, R. and Wyld, L. 2021. Bridging the age gap in breast cancer: impact of omission of breast cancer surgery in older women with oestrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer on quality-of-life outcomes. British Journal of Surgery 108 (3) , 315–325. 10.1093/bjs/znaa125

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Background Primary endocrine therapy may be an alternative treatment for less fit women with oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. This study compared quality-of-life (QoL) outcomes in older women treated with surgery or primary endocrine therapy. Methods This was a multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study of surgery or primary endocrine therapy in women aged over 70 years with operable breast cancer. QoL was assessed using European Organisation for Research and Treatment of cancer QoL questionnaires QLQ-C30, -BR23, and -ELD14, and the EuroQol Five Dimensions 5L score at baseline, 6 weeks, and 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for baseline variation in health, fitness, and tumour stage. Results The study recruited 3416 women (median age 77 (range 69–102) years) from 56 breast units. Of these, 2979 (87.2 per cent) had ER-positive breast cancer; 2354 women had surgery and 500 received primary endocrine therapy (125 were excluded from analysis due to inadequate data or non-standard therapy). Median follow-up was 52 months. The primary endocrine therapy group was older and less fit. Baseline QoL differed between the groups; the mean(s.d.) QLQ-C30 global health status score was 66.2(21.1) in patients who received primary endocrine therapy versus 77.1(17.8) among those who had surgery plus endocrine therapy. In the unmatched analysis, changes in QoL between 6 weeks and baseline were noted in several domains, but by 24 months most scores had returned to baseline levels. In the matched analysis, major surgery (mastectomy or axillary clearance) had a more pronounced adverse impact than primary endocrine therapy in several domains. Conclusion Adverse effects on QoL are seen in the first few months after surgery, but by 24 months these have largely resolved. Women considering surgery should be informed of these effects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( licenses/by-nc/4.0/)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0007-1323
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 19:26

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