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Breast Cancer in the Elderly: Treatment of 1500 Patients

Authors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Lorenzo Livi, MD, Department of Radiotherapy-Oncology, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni no. 85, 50134, Firenze, Italy, or e-mail: l.livi@dfc.unifi.it.

Abstract

Abstract:  There is a significant difference in the extent of treatment offered to the elderly with breast cancer; in the United States, while 98% of patients less than 65 years of age receive standard treatment, 81% of those older than 65 years were treated according to protocol. This study's goal was to evaluate disease-specific survival and local-regional recurrence in breast cancer patients more than 65 years of age at diagnosis. A total of 1500 patients with invasive breast carcinoma were treated consecutively from May 1971 to July 2002 at the University of Florence, Florence, Italy. All patients were more than 65 years of age. The median age was 70.6 years (range 65.1–87.3 years).The median follow-up was 8.7 years (range 1–30 years). The crude probability of survival (or relapse occurrence) was estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method and survival (or relapse occurrence) comparisons were carried out using Cox proportional hazard regression models. The Cox regression model by stepwise selection showed as independent prognostic factors for disease-specific survival (DSS), the occurrence of a local relapse (p < 0.0001), pN status (p < 0.0001), the type of surgery (p < 0.0001), and the use of radiotherapy (p < 0.0006) and chemotherapy (p = 0.01). For local disease-free survival (LDFS), the Cox regression model by stepwise selection showed that mastectomy (p < 0.0001), histotype (p < 0.0001), pN status (p < 0.0001), and pT status (p = 0.001) were the only independent prognostic factors. Age was not a prognostic factor for DSS nor LDFS. We suggest treating patients with appropriate treatment for their prognostic factors. 

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