Prognostic factors in elderly patients with breast cancer

Alessandro Cappellani, Maria Di Vita, Antonio Zanghì, Andrea Cavallaro, Gaetano Piccolo, Marcello Majorana, Giuseppina Barbera, Massimiliano Berretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Breast cancer (BC) remains principally a disease of old ages; with 35-50% of cases occurring in women older than 65 years. Even mortality for cancer increases with aging: 19.7% between 65 and 74 years; 22.6% between 75 and 84 years; and 15.1% in 85 years or more. The study was aimed to investigate specific predictive factors for elderly patients so to select the best way to treat and follow these patients. Methods. A search was performed on Medline, Embase, Scopus using the following Key words: Breast cancer, Breast neoplasms, Aged, Elder, Elderly, Eldest, Older, Survival analysis, Prognosis, Prognostic factors, Tumor markers, Biomarkers, Comorbidity, Geriatric assessment, Axilla, Axillary surgery. 3029 studies have been retrieved. Paper in which overall or disease free survival were not end points, or age class was not well defined, or the sample was too small, were excluded. At last 42 papers fulfilled the criteria. Results and discussion. Lack of screening and delay in diagnosis may be responsible for the minor improvement in survival observed in elderly respect to younger breast cancer patients. Predictive factors are the same and must be assessed with the same attention reserved to younger women. Conclusions: Most of elderly patient are fit to undergo standard treatment and can get the same benefits of younger women. Nevertheless it is possible that some older women with early breast cancer can be spared too aggressive treatments. Geriatric assessment and co-morbidities can affect the prognosis modifying surveillance, life expectancy and compliance to therapies. They can thus be useful to select the better treatment, either surgical or radio or hormone - or chemo-therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS2
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • Elderly
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Prognostic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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