A patient’s expectations may influence his or her adherence to medication regimens, quality of life, and reported side effects, according to a study published in the Annals of Oncology.1

Researchers enrolled 111 patients, each of whom had hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, into this 2-year, prospective study. All patients were postoperative; each was to undergo endocrine treatment; 107 were evaluated at 3 months, and 88 were evaluated at 24 months.

Patients with negative expectations before treatment were more likely to report negative side effects and worse quality of life, with a relative risk of negative side effects after 2 years of 1.833. Patients with better expectations were also more likely to adhere to medication regimens at 24 months.

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The authors conclude that patient expectations play a causal role in the development of side effects, quality of life, and medication regimen adherence. Optimization of patient expectations is recommended.


  1. Nestoriuc Y, von Blanckenburg P, Schuricht F, et al. Is it best to expect the worst? Influence of patients’ side-effect expectations on endocrine treatment outcome in a 2-year prospective clinical cohort study. Ann Oncol. 2016 Aug 22. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdw266 [Epub ahead of print]