Chemo + Breast Cancer Combo Accelerates Functional Decline in Seniors

Findings compared to older adults with breast cancer not receiving chemotherapy and older adults without breast cancer
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- The combination of breast cancer and chemotherapy contributes to accelerated functional decline in older women with early-stage breast cancer, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Mina S. Sedrak, M.D., from the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed whether physical functional decline in older women with early-stage breast cancer is driven by cancer, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. Analysis included women aged 65 years and older with early-stage breast cancer receiving chemotherapy (BC chemo; 444 participants), early-stage breast cancer not receiving chemotherapy (BC control; 98 participants), and noncancer controls (100 participants).

The researchers found that the BC chemo group experienced a significant decline at time point 2 (three, four, or six months), with a median change in Physical Functioning Subscale (PF-10) of −5 (interquartile range [IQR], −20 to 0), while the BC control and noncancer control groups showed a median change of 0 (IQR, −5 to 5). Among BC chemo participants, more than 30 percent had a substantial decline in PF-10 compared to 8 percent in the BC control and 5 percent in the noncancer control groups.

"The high prevalence of accelerated functional decline in older women undergoing breast cancer chemotherapy underscores the urgency to develop interventions aimed at preserving physical function and improving health outcomes," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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