Adjuvant tamoxifen prescription in women 65 years and older with primary breast cancer

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal; Breast Neoplasms; Chemotherapy, Adjuvant; Female; Humans; Logistic Models; Neoplasm Staging; *Patient Selection; *Physician's Practice Patterns; Physician-Patient Relations; Receptors, Estrogen; Tamoxifen; Tumor Markers, Biological; United States


Health Services Research | Primary Care


PURPOSE: We examined patterns of adjuvant tamoxifen discussion and prescription among breast cancer patients age 65 years and older.

METHODS: We selected from women diagnosed with primary breast cancer those with (1) stage I (tumor diameter > or = 1 cm), stage II, or stage IIIa disease; (2) age 65 years or older on the date of diagnosis; and (3) permission from the attending physician to contact. Data were collected from consenting patients' medical records, telephone interviews with patients, and mailed questionnaires completed by their physicians.

RESULTS: We obtained medical record and interview data for 698 patients. The oldest patients (odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23 to 0.87 for those aged 80+ relative to those aged 65 to 69 years old), those with more comorbid conditions (each additional comorbid condition reduced the odds of discussion by 0.84; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.96), and those who were estrogen receptor-negative (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.99) were less likely to report discussion of tamoxifen therapy with a physician. Older patients (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.18 to 4.01 for 70- to 79-year-olds relative to 65- to 69-year-olds; OR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.11 to 5.34 for those aged 80+ relative to those aged 65 to 69 years old), those who reported a greater influence of information about tamoxifen on decision-making (an increase in 1 SD increased the odds by 7.43; 95% CI, 4.36 to 12.65), and those whose physicians believed that the benefits of tamoxifen outweighed its risks (an increase in 1 SD increased the odds by 1.87; 95% CI, 1.34 to 2.62) were more likely to be prescribed tamoxifen.

CONCLUSION: These findings highlight the key role of communication in the care of older women with breast cancer and its ultimate influence on the receipt of therapy.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Oncol. 2002 Jun 1;20(11):2680-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2002.08.137

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID