Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) as adjuvant therapy after breast cancer (BC) surgery have demonstrated to reduce the risk of disease recurrence, to lower the risk of contralateral BC, and to improve survival when compared to tamoxifen in patients with limited-stage hormone receptor-positive (HR+) BC. However, AIs are associated with adverse events that can have a significant impact on patient quality of life (QoL).
This study aimed to identify profiles of psychological symptoms and QoL in HR+ BC patients undergoing AI therapy.
Data were collected with questionnaires administered at three time points: AI initiation (t0); 3 months after AI initiation (t1); and 6 months after AI initiation (t2). The FACT-G, FACT-B, and FACT-ES questionnaires were used to assess QoL; psychological symptoms were assessed using the SCL-90-R.
43 women were enrolled in the study (t0), and 37 completed the t1 evaluation and 29 the t2 evaluation. We found (1) a progressive decrease over time in FACT-G and FACT-ES scores, in particular in the Physical, Emotional, and Endocrine subscales, and an increase in the SOM (somatization) subscale of the SCL-90-R; (2) the presence of 4 clusters related to different psychological symptoms and QoL evolution over time; (3) that patients belonging to the cluster characterized by worsening symptoms and QoL during time differed from the others in the Emotional subscale of the FACT-B and in the GSI (Global Score), OCD (obsessive-compulsive), DEP (depression), ANX (anxiety), and SLP (sleep disorders) dimensions of the SCL-90-R and had significantly higher BMI levels; and (4) that 3 items from the SCL-90-R and 2 items from FACT Emotional Well-Being subscale were predictive of the “worst” cluster.
Although larger studies are needed to confirm these results, our data open up new ways of investigation into the effects of AIs on QoL in HR+ BC patients.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.