Breast Cancer in Geriatric Patients: Current Landscape and Future Prospects

Clin Interv Aging. 2022 Sep 28;17:1445-1460. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S365497. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women worldwide and more than half are diagnosed above the age of 60 years. Life expectancy is increasing and the number of breast cancer cases diagnosed among older women are expected to increase. Undertreatment, mostly due to unjustifiable fears of advanced-age and associated comorbidities, is commonly practiced in this group of patients who are under-represented in clinical trials and their management is not properly addressed in clinical practice guidelines. With modern surgery and anesthesia, breast surgeries are considered safe and is usually associated with very low complication rates, regardless of extent of surgery. However, oncoplastic surgery and management of the axilla can be tailored based on patients'- and disease-related factors. Most of chemotherapeutic agents, along with targeted therapy and anti-Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) drugs can be safely given for older patients, however, dose adjustment and close monitoring of potential adverse events might be needed. The recently introduced cyclin-D kinase (CDK) 4/6-inhibitors in combination with aromatase inhibitors (AI) or fulvestrant, which changed the landscape of breast cancer therapy, are both safe and effective in older patients and had substituted more aggressive and potentially toxic interventions. Despite its proven efficacy, adjusting or even omitting adjuvant radiation therapy, at least in low-risk older patients, is safe and frequently practiced. In this paper, we review existing data related to breast cancer management among older patients across the continuum; from resection of the primary tumor through adjuvant chemotherapy, radiation and endocrine therapy up to the management of recurrent and advanced-stage disease.

Keywords: age; breast cancer; elderly patients; geriatric.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cyclins / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fulvestrant / therapeutic use
  • Humans

Substances

  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Cyclins
  • Fulvestrant