Response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy based on pathologic complete response in very young patients with ER-positive breast cancer: a large, multicenter, observational study

Korean Breast Cancer Society

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Abstract

Background: In estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer (BC), young age is associated with poor prognosis. While very young patients respond better to chemotherapy, chemotherapy is less effective in ER-positive tumors than in ER-negative tumors. The authors tried to evaluate chemotherapy response of very young patients with ER-positive BC by pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy excluding the effect of endocrine treatment to the extent possible. Methods: We collected individual patient data from 1992 to 2013 from the Korean Breast Cancer Society (KBCS). Total 1048 ER-positive and 797 ER-negative patients aged < 50 years who had been treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy were included for analysis. We compared pCR rate between patients aged < 35 years with ER-positive tumors and the other groups. Results: The proportion of patients aged < 35 years was 14.0% of patients with ER-positive BC in this cohort of under 50 years old, and 16.8% of patients with ER-negative BC in this cohort of under 50 years old. Although most characteristics of tumors according to age were comparable, tumors with high Ki-67 expression were more common in patients aged < 35 years than in patients aged 35-49 years in both ER-positive and -negative group (P = 0.001). Breast conservation rates were not significantly different according to age (44.2% vs. 46.8% in ER-positive group, 55.2% vs. 48.0% in ER-negative group). pCR rate was not different according to age in ER-positive group (P = 0.71) but significantly better in patients aged < 35 years in ER-negative group (P = 0.009). After adjusting for confounding variables, young patients maintained the higher probability of pCR than older patients in ER-negative tumors. However, pCR rate did not differ according to age in ER-positive tumors. In multivariate analysis, young age (< 35 years) was correlated with poor overall survival (P = 0.003, HR = 1.98) and there was only one event in a few patients achieved pCR in ER-positive group. Conclusions: Chemotherapy response based on pCR was not better in young patients (< 35 years) with ER-positive BC than in older premenopausal patients with non-metastatic ER-positive BC. Young age cannot be a predictive factor of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in ER-positive BC. Different biological characteristics such as high proliferative index should be considered. Trial registration: Retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number647
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • ER-positive
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Pathologic complete response
  • Young patients

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