Patient-reported Adherence to Adjuvant Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy Using the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale: An Evaluation of Predictors

Susan B. Kesmodel, Olga G. Goloubeva, Paula Y. Rosenblatt, Brian Heiss, Emily C. Bellavance, Saranya Chumsri, Ting Bao, Jennifer Thompson, Ginah Nightingale, Nancy S. Tait, Elizabeth M. Nichols, Steve J. Feigenberg, Katherine H. Tkaczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Endocrine therapy is part of standard adjuvant therapy for patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and has been shown to improve recurrence-free and overall survival. However, adherence to endocrine therapy is suboptimal and is difficult to measure. In this study we evaluate the feasibility of using the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS) to assess patient adherence to aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy. Methods: Patients with stage 1 to 3, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer receiving adjuvant AI therapy were prospectively enrolled on an Institutional Review Board approved protocol. The MMAS questionnaire was administered to each patient and adherence was measured. Information on duration of AI therapy, patient and tumor characteristics, and treatment was collected. A multivariable logit model approach was utilized to evaluate potential barriers to adherence. Results: Between 2011 and 2014, 100 patients were enrolled. The distribution of adherence levels was 13% low, 37% medium, and 50% high. High adherence was reported more frequently in white women (58%), patients with stage 2 and 3 disease (54%), and patients who did not receive chemotherapy (62%). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that higher adherence was more likely in white women compared with African American women (estimated odds ratio=2.8). Conclusions: Using the MMAS, only 50% of women with stage 1 to 3 breast cancer reported high adherence to AI therapy, consistent with other reports showing suboptimal adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy. The MMAS allows for the rapid assessment of adherence to oral adjuvant endocrine therapy and is valuable in a busy clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-512
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • adjuvant endocrine therapy
  • endocrine therapy adherence
  • hormone receptor-positive breast cancer
  • measuring adherence to medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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