Adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer patients: impact of a health system outreach program to improve adherence Journal Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Reports suggest that up to 50% of women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer (BC) do not complete the recommended 5 years of adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET). We examined the impact of an outreach program at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) on adherence and discontinuation of AET among patients who initiated AET. METHODS: We assembled a retrospective cohort of all KPNC patients diagnosed with HR+, stage I-III BC initiating AET before (n = 4287) and after (n = 3580) implementation of the outreach program. We compared adherence proportions and discontinuation rates before and after program implementation, both crude and adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, education, income, and stage. We conducted a pooled analysis of data from six Cancer Research Network (CRN) sites that had not implemented programs for improving AET adherence, using identical methods and time periods, to assess possible secular trends. RESULTS: In the pre-outreach period, estimated adherence in years 1, 2, and 3 following AET initiation was 75.2%, 71.0%, and 67.3%; following the outreach program, the estimates were 79.4%, 75.6%, and 72.2% (p-values < .0001 for pairwise comparisons). Results were comparable after adjusting for clinical and demographic factors. The estimated cumulative incidence of discontinuation was 0.22 (0.21-0.24) and 0.18 (0.17-0.19) at 3 years for pre- and post-outreach groups (p-value < .0001). We found no evidence of an increase in adherence between the study periods at the CRN sites with no AET adherence program. CONCLUSION: Adherence and discontinuation after AET initiation improved modestly following implementation of the outreach program.

publication date

  • 2020