Age is one of the most important risk factors for the development of breast cancer. Nearly a third of all breast cancer cases occur in older women (aged ≥70 years), with most cases being oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+). Such tumours are often indolent and unlikely to be the ultimate cause of death for older women, particularly when considering other comorbidities. This Review focuses on unique clinical considerations for screening, detection, and treatment regimens for older women who develop ER+ breast cancers—specifically, we focus on recent trends for de-implementation of screening, staging, surgery, and adjuvant therapies along the continuum of care. Additionally, we also review emerging basic and translational research that will further uncover the unique underlying biology of these tumours, which develop in the context of systemic age-related inflammation and changing hormone profiles. With prevailing trends of clinical de-implementation, new insights into mechanistic biology might provide an opportunity for precision medicine approaches to treat patients with well tolerated, low-toxicity agents to extend patients’ lives with a higher quality of life, prevent tumour recurrences, and reduce cancer-related burdens.
The Lancet Healthy Longevity, Volume 3, January 2022,