The purpose of this study was to estimate heart failure (HF) and cardiomyopathy (CM) rates after adjuvant trastuzumab therapy and chemotherapy in a population of older women with early-stage breast cancer.
Newer biologic therapies for breast cancer such as trastuzumab have been reported to increase HF and CM in clinical trials, especially in combination with anthracycline chemotherapy. Elderly patients, however, typically have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and have been underrepresented in trastuzumab clinical trials.
Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data from 2000 through 2007, we identified women 67 to 94 years of age with early-stage breast cancer. We calculated 3-year incidence rates of HF or CM for the following mutually exclusive treatment groups: trastuzumab (with or without nonanthracycline chemotherapy), anthracycline plus trastuzumab, anthracycline (without trastuzumab and with or without nonanthracycline chemotherapy), other nonanthracycline chemotherapy, or no adjuvant chemotherapy or trastuzumab therapy. HF or CM events were ascertained from administrative Medicare claims. Poisson regression was used to quantify risk of HF or CM, adjusting for sociodemographic factors, cancer characteristics, and cardiovascular conditions.
We identified 45,537 older women (mean age: 76.2 years, standard deviation: 6.2 years) with early-stage breast cancer. Adjusted 3-year HF or CM incidence rates were higher for patients receiving trastuzumab (32.1 per 100 patients) and anthracycline plus trastuzumab (41.9 per 100 patients) compared with no adjuvant therapy (18.1 per 100 patients, p < 0.001). Adding trastuzumab to anthracycline therapy added 12.1, 17.9, and 21.7 HF or CM events per 100 patients over 1, 2, and 3 years of follow-up, respectively.
HF or CM are common complications after trastuzumab therapy for older women, with higher rates than those reported from clinical trials.