The use of adjuvant radiotherapy in elderly patients with early-stage breast cancer: changes in practice patterns after publication of Cancer and Leukemia Group B 9343.
BACKGROUND: The Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9343 randomized phase 3 trial established lumpectomy and adjuvant therapy with tamoxifen alone, rather than both radiotherapy and tamoxifen, as a reasonable treatment course for women aged >70 years with clinical stage I (AJCC 7th edition), estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. An analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry was undertaken to assess practice patterns before and after the publication of this landmark study. METHODS: The SEER database from 2000 to 2009 was used to identify 40,583 women aged ≥70 years who were treated with breast-conserving surgery for clinical stage I, estrogen receptor-positive and/or progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer. The percentage of patients receiving radiotherapy and the type of radiotherapy delivered was assessed over time. Administration of radiotherapy was further assessed across age groups; SEER cohort; and tumor size, grade, and laterality. RESULTS: Approximately 68.6% of patients treated between 2000 and 2004 compared with 61.7% of patients who were treated between 2005 and 2009 received some form of adjuvant radiotherapy (P < .001). Coinciding with a decline in the use of external beam radiotherapy, there was an increase in the use of implant radiotherapy from 1.4% between 2000 and 2004 to 6.2% between 2005 to 2009 (P < .001). There were significant reductions in the frequency of radiotherapy delivery over time across age groups, tumor size, and tumor grade and regardless of laterality (P < .001 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Randomized phase 3 data support the omission of adjuvant radiotherapy in elderly women with early-stage breast cancer. Analysis of practice patterns before and after the publication of these data indicates a significant decline in radiotherapy use; however, nearly two-thirds of women continue to receive adjuvant radiotherapy.
Palta, M; Palta, P; Bhavsar, NA; Horton, JK; Blitzblau, RC
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