Management of triple-negative breast cancer in older patients: How is it different?

Shlomit Strulov Shachar, Trevor A. Jolly, Ellen Jones, Hyman B. Muss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triple-negative breast cancer, which affects about 10% of older women with breast cancer, represents a major treatment challenge in this population. Treatment decisions for these patients can best be made based on geriatric assessment, estimated life expectancy, whether the treatment goal is prolonged survival or palliation, the potential benefits and toxicities of a specific treatment, and the patient’s personal goals for treatment. Treatment outcomes for healthy older and younger women are similar, but great challenges exist in managing the vulnerable and frail patient. The cornerstone of therapy for early-stage triple-negative breast cancer is local therapy (surgery and radiation) and, for most patients, adjuvant chemotherapy. In the management of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, all therapy is palliative and chemotherapy is the treatment of choice. Since all treatment modalities in older patients—especially chemotherapy—can affect physical and mental function, a geriatric assessment is key in selecting the most appropriate treatment strategy. Many older patients (older than 70 years) are poor candidates for state-of-the-art therapy, and some who have substantial comorbidities not related to breast cancer may opt for palliative and hospice care. In this review, we will discuss the role of geriatric assessment, alternative treatment modalities for older women with triple-negative breast cancer, and other special considerations for this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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