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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Mar 1;82(3):1185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.02.061. Epub 2011 May 19.

Basal subtype of invasive breast cancer is associated with a higher risk of true recurrence after conventional breast-conserving therapy.

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  • 1Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To determine whether breast cancer subtype is associated with patterns of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR), either true recurrence (TR) or elsewhere local recurrence (ELR), among women with pT1-T2 invasive breast cancer (IBC) who receive breast-conserving therapy (BCT).


From Jan 1998 to Dec 2003, 1,223 women with pT1-T2N0-3 IBC were treated with BCT (lumpectomy plus whole-breast radiation). Ninety percent of patients received adjuvant systemic therapy, but none received trastuzumab. Biologic cancer subtypes were approximated by determining estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), progesterone receptor-positive (PR+), and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-positive (HER-2+) expression, classified as luminal A (ER+ or PR+ and HER-2 negative [HER-2-]), luminal B (ER+ or PR+ and HER-2+), HER-2 (ER- and PR- and HER-2+), and basal (ER- and PR- and HER-2- ) subtypes. Imaging, pathology, and operative reports were reviewed by two physicians independently, including an attending breast radiologist. Readers were blinded to subtype and outcome. TR was defined as IBTR within the same quadrant and within 3 cm of the primary tumor. All others were defined as ELR.


At a median follow-up of 70 months, 24 patients developed IBTR (5-year cumulative incidence of 1.6%), including 15 TR and 9 ELR patients. At 5 years, basal (4.4%) and HER-2 (9%) subtypes had a significantly higher incidence of TR than luminal B (1.2%) and luminal A (0.2%) subtypes (p < 0.0001). On multivariate analysis, basal subtype (hazard ratio [HR], 4.8, p = 0.01), younger age at diagnosis (HR, 0.97; p = 0.05), and increasing tumor size (HR, 2.1; p = 0.04) were independent predictors of TR. Only younger age (HR, 0.95; p = 0.01) significantly predicted for ELR.


Basal and HER-2 subtypes are significantly associated with higher rates of TR among women with pT1-T2 IBC after BCT. Younger age predicts for both TR and ELR. Strategies to reduce TR in basal breast cancers, such as increased boost doses, concomitant radiation and chemotherapy, or targeted therapy agents, should be explored.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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