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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Is Routine Recurrence Score Testing in Patients Older than 70 Years of Age Warranted? An Evaluation of the National Cancer Database After TAILORx

Rachel M. Lee MD, Jeffrey M. Switchenko PhD, Tran B. Ho DO, Cletus A. Arciero MD, Manali A. Bhave MD, Preeti D. Subhedar MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 10 / October , 2019



Recurrence score (RS) testing in early-stage, ER-positive breast cancer is used to predict the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy for disease recurrence and overall survival. TAILORx results decreased the ambiguity of “intermediate risk” RS by creating a binary classification system. We aimed to determine how women ≥ 70 years with intermediate RS were redistributed post-TAILORx and to identify predictors of low RS.


Patients ≥ 70 years with early-stage, node-negative, ER-positive breast cancers in the National Cancer Database(2006–2014) were included. “Pre-TAILORx” RS were classified as low (0–17), intermediate (18–30), and high (> 30). “Post-TAILORx” RS were classified as low (0–25) and high (> 25).


In total, 14,925 women were included. Average age was 74 years. 60% (n = 9009) had low pre-TAILORx RS, 31% (n = 4635) intermediate, and 9% (n = 1281) high. Of 4635 patients with intermediate RS, 72% (n = 3660) were reclassified to low RS. Only 12% (n = 1783) of patients received chemotherapy. Of patients with pre-TAILORx intermediate RS who received chemotherapy, 55% (n = 417) would have been spared chemotherapy by being reclassified with low RS post-TAILORx. The strongest predictor of post-TAILORx low RS was tumor grade; 95% of well-differentiated had low RS, compared with 56% of poorly/undifferentiated tumors (p < 0.001). Smaller tumor size also was associated with low RS. Age was not associated with RS.


With post-TAILORx RS criteria, the vast majority of patients ≥ 70 years can be classified as low-risk and unlikely to benefit from chemotherapy. Given that the elderly have greater rates of chemotherapy-associated complications, reconsideration of routine RS testing in patients ≥ 70 years is warranted. Tumor grade and size also may inform the decision to omit RS testing.

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