Source: World Journal of Surgery
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Indicators of the time until highest recurrence risk
In a nutshell
This study assessed which among the known indicators of breast cancer recurrence can most accurately predict the time of breast cancer return.
Breast cancer can recur at any time, but most recurrences occur in the first three to five years after treatment. Several tumor and patient characteristics may help predict the risk and timing of possible breast cancer recurrence. These indicators include tumor size, tumor grade (as determined by the appearance of the tumor cells under a microscope), lymph node involvement, estrogen and progesterone receptor status, patient age and menopausal status. Although these indicators have been extensively investigated as predictors of the risk of cancer recurrence, whether these predictors could be used to indicate the timing of recurrence has not yet been examined.
Methods & findings
The study involved 473 patients with recurrent breast cancer. Medical records were analyzed to determine which factors most accurately correlate with the time of breast cancer recurrence.
Tumor grade was found to most accurately predict breast cancer recurrence time. Among patients with low-grade breast tumors, the average time until cancer recurrence was 5 years. In comparison, the average time before recurrence for patients with medium grade breast tumors was 3.8 years, and was 2 years among patients with high-grade breast cancer tumors. Original tumor size was also found to correlate with the time until recurrence. Both estrogen and progesterone receptor status were determined to influence the time of cancer recurrence as well. Estrogen or progesterone receptor negativity correlated with significantly earlier recurrences.
Surprisingly, lymph node involvement, menopausal status and patient age did not show any correlation with the time of breast cancer recurrence.
The bottom line
This study identified tumor grade, tumor size and hormone receptor status as the best predictors of time until breast cancer recurrence.
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