Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas observed that disparities in adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) adherence exist among minority women with breast cancer. They conducted a study to quantify racial/ethnic differences in 1-year adherence to AET and determine if out-of-pocket costs explain the racial/ethnic disparities in adherence.
This retrospective cohort study used the SEER-Medicare linked database to identify women over age 65 with hormone receptor–positive breast cancer who were enrolled in Medicare Part D from 2007 to 2009. The cohort included non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.
Out-of-pocket costs for AET medications were standardized for a 30-day supply, and adherence to tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors, and overall AET (tamoxifen or AIs) was assessed during the 12-month study period.
About one-third of the women were found to be nonadherent to AET (3197 of 8688 [37%]), and higher out-of-pocket costs for AET medication were associated with lower odds of adherence.
The researchers concluded that racial/ethnic disparities in AET adherence are largely explained by women's differences in socioeconomic status and out-of-pocket medication costs. The study findings are available here.