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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006 Jul;54(7):1119-24.

A prospective, longitudinal study of the functional status and quality of life of older patients with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.

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Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.



To examine the toxicity experienced by a cohort of older women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer and the longitudinal effect on their functional status and quality of life (QOL).


A geriatric assessment measuring functional status, comorbidity, mood, nutritional status, and QOL was performed before chemotherapy, at the end of chemotherapy, and 6 months later.


This prospective longitudinal study was conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.


Fifty patients aged 65 and older with Stage I to III breast cancer receiving any adjuvant chemotherapy; 49 were evaluable.


The chemotherapy regimen and the toxicity to chemotherapy were recorded. A geriatric assessment was performed before the start of chemotherapy, on completion of chemotherapy, and 6 months after completion of chemotherapy. QOL testing was performed at the same times.


Patients (mean age 68, range 65-84) received an anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimen (n=15) or cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 intravenously (i.v.), methotrexate 40 mg/m2 i.v., 5-fluorouracil 600 mg/m2 i.v. every 3 weeks for eight cycles (n=34). Grade 3 or 4 toxicity occurred in 53% (n=26), hematological toxicity in 27% (n=13), and nonhematological toxicity in 31% (n=15). Despite toxicity, there was no significant longitudinal change in functional status or QOL.


Despite toxicity from adjuvant chemotherapy, this cohort of relatively young older patients maintained their functional status and QOL from before chemotherapy to 6 months postchemotherapy. Subtle changes in higher-order functioning would require assessment using different geriatric assessment tools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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