Adjuvant chemotherapy and HER-2-directed therapy for early-stage breast cancer in the elderly
There is a lack of sufficient evidence-based data defining the optimal adjuvant systemic therapies in older women. Recommendations are mainly based on retrospective studies, subgroup analyses within larger randomised trials and expert opinion. Treatment decisions should consider the functional fitness of the patient, co-morbidities, in addition to chronological age with the aim to balance risks and potential benefits from treatment(s). In this review, we discuss assessment tools to aid clinicians to select elderly patients who are ‘fit’ for chemotherapy, and review the literature on the use of chemotherapy and of the anti-HER 2 antibody trastuzumab in this population. We will also review two commonly used prediction models to assess their accuracy in predicting survival outcomes in elderly patients. Ongoing clinical trials specifically focusing on older patients may help to clarify the absolute benefits and risks of adjuvant systemic therapy in this age group.
Br J Cancer 2017; 116: 4–9. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.360
Keywords: breast cancer; functional assessment; elderly; adjuvant chemotherapy; trastuzumab; prediction tool