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Acta Oncol. 1988;27(6A):715-9.

The pattern of metastases in human breast cancer. Influence of systemic adjuvant therapy and impact on survival.

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Department of Oncology ONA, Finsen Institute, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Of the 3,802 patients enrolled in the DBCG 77 protocols, 863 developed clinical recurrence within a median follow-up time of 4.9 years (range 2.0-7.0). More than 69% of these had their first recurrence confined to a single anatomical site and 12% had more than two metastatic sites. The most common sites were bone (35%), lung (23%), skin (22%), and regional lymph nodes (16%). The observation period after first recurrence was 3.6 years (range 0.8-6.4). Survival after recurrence was significantly related both to the location and the number of metastases. Patients who were given adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 134) had significantly fewer metastatic sites and significantly more frequent liver metastases than untreated patients (n = 50). Patients who received adjuvant tamoxifen (n = 154) had the same number of metastatic sites, but more often had lung metastases than untreated patients (n = 201). These results probably reflect that metastases in different anatomical locations differ with respect to sensitivity to antineoplastic treatments.

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