FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of comorbidities among older patients with early breast cancer is associated with either similar or worse overall survival than that of patients at a later stage of cancer with no comorbidities, according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Jennifer L. Patnaik, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado Denver in Aurora, and colleagues investigated the association between 13 comorbidities and breast cancer survival in 64,034 women aged 66 years or older, diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2000. Overall survival was estimated, and mortality estimations were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, tumor stage, cancer prognostic markers, and treatment.
The investigators found that 58 percent of the women had none of the specified comorbidities. Each one of the 13 comorbidities was significantly associated with decreased overall survival and increased mortality (adjusted hazard ratio of death was 1.11 and 2.32 for prior myocardial infarction and liver disease, respectively). Patients aged 66 to 74 years, and stratified by stage and individual comorbidity status, showed similar or poorer overall survival for each comorbidity and stage I tumor than patients with no comorbidities and stage II tumors.
"Our analysis found an association between 13 individual comorbidities and the overall survival and all-cause mortality of older female breast cancer patients. The presence of comorbid conditions in this population is substantially associated with decreased survival and is quantitatively similar to that of breast cancer stage," the authors write.