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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Apr;19(4):1185-91. doi: 10.1245/s10434-011-2070-z. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Hormone treatment without surgery for patients aged 75 years or older with operable breast cancer.

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Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the trend in the use of primary endocrine treatment (PET) for elderly patients with operable breast cancer and to study mean time to response (TTR), local control, time to progression (TTP), and overall survival.


Data of 184 patients aged≥75 years, diagnosed with breast cancer in the south of the Netherlands between 2001 and 2008 and receiving PET, were analyzed.


The percentage of women≥75 years with breast cancer receiving PET in the south of the Netherlands decreased from 23% in the period 1988-1992 to 12% in 1997-2000, and increased to 29% in 2005-2008. Mean age at diagnosis of 184 patients treated with PET in the period 2001-2008 was 84 years (range 75-89 years). Mean length of follow-up was 2.6 years. In 107 patients (58%), an initial response was achieved (mean TTR 7 months), 21 patients (12%) showed stable disease. A total of 64 patients (35%), with or without prior response, eventually displayed progression (mean TTP 20 months). No differences in TTR and TTP were observed between the patients starting with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor. One hundred nineteen (65%) of 184 patients had died by January 1, 2010. In 17 patients (14%), breast cancer was the cause of death.


Tumor progression was observed in a substantial proportion of the cohort, but only a small number of patients died of breast cancer. Further research is needed on the safety and effectiveness of PET for elderly women with breast cancer to justify the current widespread use.

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