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Oncologist. 2004;9(6):606-16.

Prognostic and predictive factors in early-stage breast cancer.

Author information

1
D.O., Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111, USA. M_Cianfrocca@fccc.edu

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among American women. Due to increased screening, the majority of patients present with early-stage breast cancer. The Oxford Overview Analysis demonstrates that adjuvant hormonal therapy and polychemotherapy reduce the risk of recurrence and death from breast cancer. Adjuvant systemic therapy, however, has associated risks and it would be useful to be able to optimally select patients most likely to benefit. The purpose of adjuvant systemic therapy is to eradicate distant micrometastatic deposits. It is essential therefore to be able to estimate an individual patient's risk of harboring clinically silent micrometastatic disease using established prognostic factors. It is also beneficial to be able to select the optimal adjuvant therapy for an individual patient based on established predictive factors. It is standard practice to administer systemic therapy to all patients with lymph node-positive disease. However, there are clearly differences among node-positive women that may warrant a more aggressive therapeutic approach. Furthermore, there are many node-negative women who would also benefit from adjuvant systemic therapy. Prognostic factors therefore must be differentiated from predictive factors. A prognostic factor is any measurement available at the time of surgery that correlates with disease-free or overall survival in the absence of systemic adjuvant therapy and, as a result, is able to correlate with the natural history of the disease. In contrast, a predictive factor is any measurement associated with response to a given therapy. Some factors, such as hormone receptors and HER2/neu overexpression, are both prognostic and predictive.

PMID:
15561805
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.9-6-606
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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