University of Sussex

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Quality of life of postmenopausal women in the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination (ATAC) Adjuvant Breast Cancer Trial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 15:57 authored by Lesley FallowfieldLesley Fallowfield, D. Cella, J. Cuzick, S. Francis, G. Locker, A. Howell
PURPOSE: To determine the quality of life (QoL) of women participating in the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination (ATAC) Adjuvant Breast Cancer Trial during the first 2 years of treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 1,021 women were enrolled onto the QoL subprotocol. All had completed primary treatment (surgery +/- radiotherapy +/- chemotherapy) and were to receive 5 years of adjuvant treatment with anastrozole (n = 335), tamoxifen (n = 347), or a combination (n = 339) of both. Patients completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B) plus endocrine subscale (ES) at baseline and 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months, or until disease recurrence. The primary end point was the FACT-B Trial Outcome Index (TOI). The secondary end point was the ES total score. Analyses of individual endocrine symptoms were also explored. RESULTS: Questionnaire completion approximated 85% of assessments available for analysis. Overall QoL for all groups improved from baseline during the 2-year period. There were no significant differences in TOI or ES scores across treatment groups. Endocrine symptoms increased between baseline and 3 months for all groups and stabilized thereafter. There were some small differences in side effect profiles. Compared with patients receiving tamoxifen only, patients receiving anastrozole only reported significantly fewer cold sweats and vaginal discharge, yet more vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and loss of sexual interest. CONCLUSION: Two years of treatment with anastrozole, tamoxifen, or the combination had a similar overall QoL impact, showing gradual improvement over time. Endocrine-related symptoms for all three arms worsened initially and recovered partially during 2 years. The different symptoms experienced may assist in decision making about treatment and supportive care needs.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Clinical Oncology




American Society of Clinical Oncology





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C) Publications


0732-183x Journal Article Multicenter Study

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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