Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIMS: Clinical trials of post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) for early invasive breast cancer (EIBC) have included few older women. This study examined whether the association between overall survival or breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) and receipt of PMRT for EIBC altered with age. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study used patient-level linked cancer registration, routine hospital and radiotherapy data for England and Wales. It included 31 243 women aged ≥50 years diagnosed between 2014 and 2018 with low- (T1-2N0), intermediate- (T3N0/T1-2N1) or high-risk (T1-2N2/T3N1-2) EIBC who received a mastectomy within 12 months from diagnosis. Patterns of survival were analysed using a landmark approach. Associations between overall survival/BCSS and PMRT in each risk group were analysed with flexible parametric survival models, which included patient and tumour factors; whether the association between PMRT and overall survival/BCSS varied by age was assessed using interaction terms. RESULTS: Among 4711 women with high-risk EIBC, 86% had PMRT. Five-year overall survival was 70.5% and BCSS was 79.3%. Receipt of PMRT was associated with improved overall survival [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.64-0.87] and BCSS (aHR 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.65-0.95) compared with women who did not have PMRT; associations did not vary by age (overall survival, P-value for interaction term = 0.141; BCSS, P = 0.077). Among 10 814 women with intermediate-risk EIBC, 59% had PMRT; 5-year overall survival was 78.4% and BCSS was 88.0%. No association was found between overall survival (aHR 1.01, 95% confidence interval 0.92-1.11) or BCSS (aHR 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.32) and PMRT. There was statistical evidence of a small change in the association with age for overall survival (P = 0.007), although differences in relative survival were minimal, but not for BCSS (P = 0.362). CONCLUSIONS: The association between PMRT and overall survival/BCSS does not appear to be modified by age among women with high- or intermediate-risk EIBC and, thus, treatment recommendations should not be modified on the basis of age alone.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol)

Publication Date





e265 - e277


Breast cancer, older patient, post-mastectomy radiotherapy, survival, Female, Humans, Aged, Breast Neoplasms, Mastectomy, Cohort Studies, Radiotherapy, Adjuvant, Neoplasm Staging, Retrospective Studies