Early Breast Cancer in the Elderly: Characteristics, Therapy, and Long-Term Outcome

Omer Gal*, Yael Ishai, Aaron Sulkes, Tzipora Shochat, Rinat Yerushalmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The number of older adults diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing. However, data on breast cancer characteristics, treatment, and survival in elderly women are sparse. Methods: The database of a tertiary cancer center was searched for all women aged ≥65 years who were diagnosed with early breast cancer in 2004-2007. Patients were divided into 2 age groups: 65-75 years and >75 years. Data on tumor, treatment, and outcome parameters were compared. Results: The cohort included 390 patients. The older group underwent more mastectomies but less axillary surgery or adjuvant systemic therapy. Median overall survival (OS) was 9.5 years in the older group and not reached in the younger group; the 8-year disease-free survival rates were 85 and 88%, respectively (p = 0.27). Both age and tumor subtype had an effect on OS and recurrence rates (p < 0.001 for OS; p = 0.16 for recurrence). The worst outcome was noted in women aged >75 years with triple-negative (TN) disease. Conclusion: The treatment approach was different between both age groups, despite similar tumor characteristics. TN subtype presented as the most aggressive disease in both age groups. Physicians should be alert to these findings and select treatment on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Adjuvant treatment
  • Early breast cancer
  • Elderly patients
  • Tumor subtypes


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