Research Article| Volume 39, ISSUE 3, P300-308, February 2003

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Treatment of operable breast cancer in the elderly

a randomised clinical trial EORTC 10850 comparing modified radical mastectomy with tumorectomy plus tamoxifen


      We have examined the outcome of older patients with operable breast cancer treated in a randomised trial by either standard surgery or less extensive surgery and tamoxifen. There were 236 participants aged ⩾70 years, randomised to either modified radical mastectomy MRM (n=120) or wide local excision (WLE) and tamoxifen (T) 20 mg daily (n=116). Survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method and multivariate analyses were performed using Cox's proportional hazards model. Endpoints were survival and time to first relapse or progression, loco-regional progression, time to distant progression and progression-free survival. No significant difference was seen in terms of progression-free survival, but there were significantly more loco-regional relapses in the WLE+T group. In contrast, there were more distant metastases in the MRM group, but with a similar overall survival in both groups. The results of this trial give cautious support for the use of WLE+T for selected older women.


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