Quality of life in elderly breast cancer patients with localized disease receiving endocrine treatment: a prospective study

Clin Transl Oncol. 2019 Sep;21(9):1231-1239. doi: 10.1007/s12094-019-02048-4. Epub 2019 Feb 2.


Purpose: In this paper we study the quality of life (QoL) of elderly breast cancer patients receiving endocrine treatment (ET). More QoL data on elderly patients treated with ET are needed. Our aims are to study QoL in early-stage breast cancer patients throughout the treatment period and compare the QoL of ET groups.

Methods: 148 patients > 65 years who began ET with either tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor (AI) completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BR23 and the Interview for Deterioration in Daily Living Activities in Dementia (IDDD) questionnaires three times over 3 years of ET. Linear mixed-effect models were used to evaluate longitudinal QoL changes. ET group comparisons were conducted after 3 years of treatment via ANCOVA adjusted by basal QoL.

Results: QoL scores were high (> 80/100 points) in most QoL areas, with moderate limitations (> 30) in sexual functioning and enjoyment and in future perspective. After 3 years of ET, four QoL areas improved (< 6 points) compared to baseline and 3-month assessments. Hot flushes worsened (8 points) at the 3-month assessment but by 3 years had recovered. AI patients showed more hot flushes, pain and diarrhea and less sexual enjoyment than tamoxifen patients after 3 years of ET (differences 3-12 points).

Conclusions: Results indicate that elderly early-stage breast cancer patients adapted well to their disease and ET treatment over the 3 years. Few QoL differences were observed between ET groups.

Keywords: Breast cancer; EORTC; Elderly; Endocrine treatment; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen