Efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy according to hormone receptor status in young patients with breast cancer: a pooled analysis

Jos A. van der Hage, J. Sven D. Mieog, Marc J. van de Vijver, Cornelis J. H. van de Velde

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INTRODUCTION: Breast cancer at a young age is associated with an unfavorable prognosis. Very young patients with breast cancer therefore are advised to undergo adjuvant chemotherapy irrespective of tumor stage or grade. However, chemotherapy alone may not be adequate in young patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Therefore, we studied the effect of adjuvant chemotherapy in young patients with breast cancer in relation to hormone receptor status. METHODS: Paraffin-embedded tumor material was collected from 480 early-stage breast cancer patients younger than 41 years who participated in one of four European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer trials. Using immunohistochemistry on the whole series of tumors, we assessed estrogen receptor (ER) status and progesterone receptor (PgR) status in a standardized way. Endpoints in this study were overall survival (OS) and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS). The median follow-up period was 7.3 years. RESULTS: Overall, patients with ER-positive tumors had better OS rates (hazard ratio [HR] 0.63; P = 0.02) compared with those with ER-negative tumors. However, in the subgroup of patients who received chemotherapy, no significant difference in OS (HR 0.87; P = 0.63) and DMFS (HR 1.36; P = 0.23) was found between patients with ER-positive tumors or those with ER-negative tumors. These differences were similar for PgR status. CONCLUSION: Young patients with hormone receptor-positive tumors benefit less from adjuvant systemic chemotherapy than patients with hormone receptor-negative tumors. These results confirm that chemotherapy alone cannot be considered optimal adjuvant systemic treatment in breast cancer patients 40 years old or younger with hormone receptor-positive tumors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R70
JournalBreast cancer research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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