Association of Modifiable Risk Factors with Early Discontinuation of Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy: A Post Hoc Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial

Betina Yanez*, Robert J. Gray, Joseph A. Sparano, Ruth C. Carlos, Gelareh Sadigh, Sofia F. Garcia, Ilana F. Gareen, Timothy J. Whelan, George W. Sledge, David Cella, Lynne I. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Importance: Early discontinuation of adjuvant endocrine therapy (ET) is problematic among breast cancer survivors, with previous studies suggesting that up to 50% of women do not adhere to the recommended full 5 years of ET treatment. Objective: To identify the association between early discontinuation of ET in the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (TAILORx) and modifiable risk factors, polypharmacy, and types of additional medications such as antidepressants and opioids. Design, Setting, and Participants: This post hoc analysis includes a subgroup of 954 patients with breast cancer in TAILORx, a randomized clinical trial conducted from April 7, 2006, to October 6, 2010. All participants received a diagnosis of hormone receptor-positive, ERBB2-negative, axillary node-negative breast cancer and started ET within a year of study entry. Analyses were conducted in the intent-to-treat population. Statistical analysis took place from January 15, 2020, to April 6, 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Participants completed measures on cancer-related health-related quality of life including physical well-being and social well-being prior to initiating ET. Early discontinuation of ET was defined as discontinuation less than 4 years from initiation for reasons other than death or recurrence. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to calculate discontinuation, and Cox proportional hazards regression joint prediction models were used to analyze the association between rates of adherence to ET with patient-level factors. Results: A total of 954 women (mean [SD] age, 56.6 [8.9] years) were included in this analysis. In a joint model, receipt of chemoendocrine therapy (vs receipt of ET only; hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35-0.92; P =.02) and age older than 40 years (vs =40 years; HR for 41-50 years, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.18-0.85; P =.02; HR for 51-60 years, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.13-0.60; P =.001; HR for 61-70 years, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.18-0.86; P =.02; and HR for >70 years, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.07-0.77; P =.02) were associated with a lower probability of early discontinuation of ET. Adjusted for these factors, a history of depression compared with no history of depression (HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.19-2.77; P =.005), worse physical well-being compared with better physical well-being (HR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.30-3.45; P =.002), and worse social well-being compared with better social well-being (HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.20-3.13; P =.006) were individually and significantly associated with a higher probability of early discontinuation of ET. Only antidepressant use at study baseline was associated with early discontinuation (HR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.23-2.84; P =.003). Conclusions and Relevance: In this post hoc analysis of a randomized clinical trial, baseline patient-reported health-related quality of life components, such as poor social well-being, poor physical well-being, and comorbid depression, were significant risk factors for early discontinuation of endocrine therapies. These results support systematic screening for patient-reported outcomes and depressive symptoms to identify women at risk for discontinuation of ET. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00310180.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1202
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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