First-line bevacizumab-containing therapy for breast cancer: results in patients aged ≥70 years treated in the ATHENA study

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Abstract

Background: There are limited data on treatment outcomes in the growing population of elderly patients with locally recurrent/metastatic breast cancer (LR/mBC). To gain information on first-line bevacizumab combined with chemotherapy in the elderly, we analyzed data from the ATHENA trial in routine oncology practice.

Patients and methods: Patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative LR/mBC received first-line bevacizumab with standard chemotherapy until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or physician/patient decision. We carried out a subgroup analysis of safety and efficacy in patients aged ≥70 years. Possible correlations between tolerability and baseline comorbidities or Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group status were explored.

Results: Bevacizumab was combined with single-agent paclitaxel in 46% of older patients. Only hypertension and proteinuria were more common in older than in younger patients (grade ≥3 hypertension: 6.9% versus 4.2%, respectively; grade ≥3 proteinuria: 4.0% versus 1.5%, respectively). Grade ≥3 arterial/venous thromboembolism occurred in 2.9% versus 3.3%, respectively. Further analysis revealed no relationship between baseline presence and severity of hypertension and risk of developing hypertension during bevacizumab-containing therapy. Median time to progression was 10.4 months in patients aged ≥70 years.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that bevacizumab-containing therapy is tolerable and active in patients aged ≥70 years. Hypertension was more common than in younger patients but was manageable. We find no evidence precluding the use of bevacizumab in older patients, including those with hypertension, although age may influence chemotherapy choice.

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