Stopping Treatment With Soltamox Common in Men With Breast Cancer

The rate of treatment discontinuation with Soltamox increased from 15.8% at one year after breast cancer diagnosis to 48.3% at five years, although more research is needed into why this is occurring.

Nearly half of older men with breast cancer who were treated with Soltamox (tamoxifen) discontinued the treatment at five years, study results demonstrated.

The study, which was published in the journal Cancer, highlights the need for oncologists to emphasize the importance of adherence to Soltamox, which has previously been shown to benefit patients with breast cancer.

“(Soltamox) can improve survival in patients with breast cancer, so high rates of discontinuation are a concern because discontinuing therapy early could result in poorer outcomes,” Dr. Sharon H. Giordano, a professor of medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told CURE®.

Men with breast cancer account for 1% of all patients with breast cancer, according to the study’s introduction. In addition, men are not often included in breast cancer clinical trials despite increasing rates of the disease in men. Despite this, Soltamox has been adopted as standard therapy for men with early-stage breast cancer, especially since women with early-stage breast cancer benefited from this treatment. This recent study on Soltamox adherence in men with breast cancer “addressed an important gap in knowledge about the use of (Soltamox) in male patients with breast cancer,” Giordano said.

She and her colleagues analyzed data from 451 men (median age, 75 years) aged 65 years and older with stage 1 to 3 hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who received Soltamox within one year of diagnosis. Discontinuation of Soltamox was defined as a patient without the prescription for at least 120 days. Patients were followed up for a median of 32.5 months.

The discontinuation rate in men with breast cancer was 15.8% at one year after diagnosis, which continued to increase each year over a five-year period (24.3%, 31.3%, 36.9% and 58.3%, respectively). During this time, the adherence rate for Soltamox decreased each year, from 76.9% at one year to 60.2% at five years.

“Our study was not able to address the reasons for discontinuation of (Soltamox),” Giordano said. “Side effects could be a possible cause for stopping treatment early. Early discontinuation of (Soltamox) is not unique to male patients, as women also have been found to have high rates of discontinuation.”

Several factors may be able to predict lower adherence to Soltamox including residing in a metropolitan area or less urban areas, in addition to receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer between the ages of 76 and 80. Lower adherence to the treatment was also common in men with moderate comorbidities (the presence of two or more diseases) and those older than 80 years.

Giordano mentioned that more research is needed in this area.

“Future research should address the reasons for early discontinuation so that interventions could be developed to help patients receive optimal treatment.”

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