Authors: Jade Parker, Editor
An international group of researchers from the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group have discovered that even 20 years after a diagnosis, women ER-positive breast cancer still face a substantial risk of cancer recurrence or spread. The results were published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the results of 88 trials involving 62,923 women with ER-positive breast cancer who were disease-free after 5 years of scheduled endocrine therapy.
The team observed that breast-cancer recurrences occurred at a steady rate throughout the study period from 5–20 years and that the risk of distant recurrence strongly correlated with the patients original tumor diameter and nodal status (TN), with risks ranging from 10– 41%, depending on TN status and tumor grade.
“Even though these women remained free of recurrence in the first 5 years, the risk of having their cancer recur elsewhere (for example in the bone, liver or lung) from years 5–20 remained constant,” commented senior study author Daniel F Hayes from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (USA).
Among the patients with stage T1 disease,