Background: Adjuvant hormone treatment of postmenopausal breast cancer is mainly based on aromatase inhibitors. Adverse events associated with such class of drugs are particularly severe in elderly patients. Therefore, we investigated the possibility of ab initio predict which elderly patients could encounter toxicity.
Methods: In light of national and international oncological guidelines recommending the use of screening tests for multidimensional geriatric assessment in elderly patients aged ≥70 years and eligible for active cancer treatment, we assessed whether the Vulnerable Elder Survey (VES)-13 and the Geriatric (G)-8 could be predictors of toxicity associated with aromatase inhibitors. Seventy-seven consecutive patients aged ≥70 diagnosed with non-metastatic hormone-responsive breast cancer and therefore eligible for adjuvant hormone therapy with aromatase inhibitors, were screened with the VES-13 and the G-8, and underwent a six-monthly clinical and instrumental follow-up in our medical oncology unit, from September 2016 to March 2019 (30 months). Said patients were identified as vulnerable (VES-13 score ≥3 or G-8 score ≤14) and fit (VES-13 score <3 or G-8 score >14). The likelihood of experiencing toxicity is greater among vulnerable patients.
Results: The correlation between the VES-13 or the G-8 tools and the presence of adverse events is equal to 85.7% (p = 0.03). The VES-13 demonstrated 76.9% sensitivity, 90.2% specificity, 80.0% positive predictive value, 88.5% negative predictive value. The G-8 demonstrated 79.2% sensitivity, 88.7% specificity, 76% positive predictive value, 90.4% negative predictive value.
Conclusion: The VES-13 and the G-8 tools could be valuable predictors of the onset of toxicity associated with aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer in elderly patients aged ≥70.
Keywords: Aging; G-8 test; VES-13 test; aromatase inhibitors; breast cancer; elderly; frailty; immunosenescence; toxicity.