There is currently a trend towards extending adjuvant endocrine treatment in higher risk breast cancer patients up 10 years. However, a trade off has to be made between persisting side effects of endocrine treatment vs a small advantage in recurrence risk. It is not well known if patients still suffer side effects after 5 years of endocrine treatment, and if these may be reversible. Therefore, we studied the change in side effects of endocrine treatment and overall quality of life during and 3 months after cessation, in patients who completed at least 5 years of treatment.
We included 101 patients from 2 oncological practices who underwent curative treatment for breast cancer and whose adjuvant endocrine therapy ended between 2013 and 2016. Patients willing to cooperate filled out a questionnaire before and 3 months after stopping their endocrine therapy. Hot flashes, joint pain, muscle pain and fatigue were scored as absent, a little, severe or very severe. Overall quality of life was scored on a scale from 0 to 10.
101 patients were included. Average was 61 years. Tumors were T1-T4, N0- N3, M0. Most patients received tamoxifen for 2-3 years, followed by an aromatase-inhibitor for 3-6 years. The main finding of this survey is that overall quality of life improved significantly after stopping endocrine therapy from 6.9 (range 4-10) to 7.7 (5-10) (p
Even patients who completed at least five years of endocrine treatment suffer side effects up to the end of treatment. After cessation these ameliorate in many, and this improves quality of life significantly. These findings are relevant when deciding on extended adjuvant endocrine treatment in individual patients. Detailed analysis will be presented.
Clinical trial identification
Under Dutch law no obligations for protocol submission for this type of survey, only institutional approval.
Legal entity responsible for the study
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.