Very young women (<35 years) with operable breast cancer: features of disease at presentation.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND:Breast cancer rarely occurs in young women. Our knowledge about disease presentation, prognosis and treatment effects are largely dependent upon older series. MATERIALS AND METHODS:We evaluated biological features and stage at presentation for 1427 consecutive premenopausal patients aged < or = 50 years with first diagnosis of invasive breast cancer referred to surgery at the European Institute of Oncology from April 1997 to August 2000. A total of 185 patients (13%) were aged < 35 years ('very young') and 1242 (87%) were aged 35-50 years ('less young'). The expression of estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PgR), presence of vascular invasion (VI), grading (G), expression of Ki-67, HER2/neu overexpression, pathological stage according to TNM staging system (pTNM), pathological tumor size and number of axillary lymph node involvement were evaluated. RESULTS:Compared with less young patients, the very young patient group had a higher percentage of tumors classified as ER negative (P < 0.001), PgR negative (P = 0.001), higher expression of Ki-67 > or = 20% of cells stained; 62.2% versus 53%, (P < 0.001), vascular or lymphatic invasion (48.6% versus 37.3%, P = 0.006), and pathological grade 3 (P < 0.0001). There was no difference between the two groups for pT, pathological tumor size (pN) and number of positive lymph nodes. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that compared with less young premenopausal patients, very young women have a greater chance of having an endocrine-unresponsive tumor, and are more likely to present with a higher grade, more extensively proliferating and vessel invading disease. Pathological tumor size, nodal status and number of positive axillary lymph-nodes have a similar distribution among the younger and the older cohorts, thus not supporting previous data indicating more advanced disease in younger patients at diagnosis of operable disease.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Colleoni, M; Rotmensz, N; Robertson, C; Orlando, L; Viale, G; Renne, G; Luini, A; Veronesi, P; Intra, M; Orecchia, R; Catalano, G; Galimberti, V; Nolé, F; Martinelli, G; Goldhirsch, A

Published Date

  • February 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 273 - 279

PubMed ID

  • 11886005

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11886005

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1569-8041

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0923-7534

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/annonc/mdf039


  • eng