Send to

Choose Destination
Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2011 Apr;12(6):945-60. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2011.540570. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Therapeutic management of breast cancer in the elderly.

Author information

Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, CRO-IRCCS-Medical Oncology C, Via F. Gallini 2, Aviano (Pordenone) 33081, Italy.



Over the last few decades, the population of developed countries has aged. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among the increased numbers of older women. The choice of adjuvant treatment is particularly difficult in older women because the oncologist has to balance reduction of the risk of recurrence with patient-related comorbidities that may increase the risk of treatment-related toxicity and influence patient survival.


This article describes the concept of a comprehensive geriatric assessment and reviews the current literature on biological and pathological characteristics of breast cancer in the elderly, including genomic assays recently available in the clinic. Endocrine, targeted and chemotherapy treatments both in adjuvant and metastatic setting are also covered.


A new generation of studies aimed to re-evaluate treatments in the various subtypes of breast cancer is needed. Whether this will be possible through prospective studies (especially in the adjuvant setting) is unknown. An alternative direction for further research in the elderly could be a reappraisal of old studies with carefully planned subtype analyses. Whatever the direction, the management of elderly breast-cancer patients is inherently multidisciplinary: the contribution of medical and allied health professionals is essential to the provision of optimal care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center