Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 3152–3158 | Cite as

Is Routine Recurrence Score Testing in Patients Older than 70 Years of Age Warranted? An Evaluation of the National Cancer Database After TAILORx

  • Rachel M. Lee
  • Jeffrey M. Switchenko
  • Tran B. Ho
  • Cletus A. Arciero
  • Manali A. Bhave
  • Preeti D. SubhedarEmail author
Breast Oncology



Recurrence score (RS) testing in early-stage, ER-positive breast cancer is used to predict the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy for disease recurrence and overall survival. TAILORx results decreased the ambiguity of “intermediate risk” RS by creating a binary classification system. We aimed to determine how women ≥ 70 years with intermediate RS were redistributed post-TAILORx and to identify predictors of low RS.


Patients ≥ 70 years with early-stage, node-negative, ER-positive breast cancers in the National Cancer Database(2006–2014) were included. “Pre-TAILORx” RS were classified as low (0–17), intermediate (18–30), and high (> 30). “Post-TAILORx” RS were classified as low (0–25) and high (> 25).


In total, 14,925 women were included. Average age was 74 years. 60% (n = 9009) had low pre-TAILORx RS, 31% (n = 4635) intermediate, and 9% (n = 1281) high. Of 4635 patients with intermediate RS, 72% (n = 3660) were reclassified to low RS. Only 12% (n = 1783) of patients received chemotherapy. Of patients with pre-TAILORx intermediate RS who received chemotherapy, 55% (n = 417) would have been spared chemotherapy by being reclassified with low RS post-TAILORx. The strongest predictor of post-TAILORx low RS was tumor grade; 95% of well-differentiated had low RS, compared with 56% of poorly/undifferentiated tumors (p < 0.001). Smaller tumor size also was associated with low RS. Age was not associated with RS.


With post-TAILORx RS criteria, the vast majority of patients ≥ 70 years can be classified as low-risk and unlikely to benefit from chemotherapy. Given that the elderly have greater rates of chemotherapy-associated complications, reconsideration of routine RS testing in patients ≥ 70 years is warranted. Tumor grade and size also may inform the decision to omit RS testing.



Research reported in this publication was supported in part by the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and NIH/NCI under award number P30CA138292. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The data used in the study are derived from a de-identified NCDB file. The American College of Surgeons and the Commission on Cancer have not verified and are not responsible for the analytic or statistical methodology employed, or the conclusions drawn from these data by the investigator.




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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel M. Lee
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Switchenko
    • 2
  • Tran B. Ho
    • 1
  • Cletus A. Arciero
    • 1
  • Manali A. Bhave
    • 3
  • Preeti D. Subhedar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Winship Cancer InstituteEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Winship Cancer Institute, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared ResourceEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer InstituteEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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