Endocrine Therapy Nonadherence and Discontinuation in Black and White Women

Stephanie B. Wheeler, Jennifer Spencer, Laura C. Pinheiro, Caitlin C. Murphy, Jo Anne Earp, Lisa Carey, Andrew Olshan, Chiu Kit Tse, Mary E. Bell, Morris Weinberger, Katherine E. Reeder-Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Differential use of endocrine therapy (ET) by race may contribute to breast cancer outcome disparities, but racial differences in ET behaviors are poorly understood. Methods: Women aged 20-74 years with a first primary, stage I-III, hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer were included. At 2 years postdiagnosis, we assessed nonadherence, defined as not taking ET every day or missing more than two pills in the past 14 days, discontinuation, and a composite measure of underuse, defined as either missing pills or discontinuing completely. Using logistic regression, we evaluated the relationship between race and nonadherence, discontinuation, and overall underuse in unadjusted, clinically adjusted, and socioeconomically adjusted models. Results: A total of 1280 women were included; 43.2% self-identified as black. Compared to white women, black women more often reported nonadherence (13.7% vs 5.2%) but not discontinuation (10.0% vs 10.7%). Black women also more often reported the following: hot flashes, night sweats, breast sensitivity, and joint pain; believing that their recurrence risk would not change if they stopped ET; forgetting to take ET; and cost-related barriers. In multivariable analysis, black race remained statistically significantly associated with nonadherence after adjusting for clinical characteristics (adjusted odds ratio = 2.72, 95% confidence interval = 1.75 to 4.24) and after adding socioeconomic to clinical characteristics (adjusted odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval = 1.50 to 3.97) but was not independently associated with discontinuation after adjustment. Low recurrence risk perception and lack of a shared decision making were strongly predictive of ET underuse across races. Conclusions: Our results highlight important racial differences in ET-Adherence behaviors, perceptions of benefits/harms, and shared decision making that may be targeted with culturally tailored interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdjy136
Pages (from-to)498-508
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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