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Eur J Cancer. 2012 Nov;48(16):2962-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.04.019. Epub 2012 May 28.

Tumor characteristics and recurrence patterns in triple negative breast cancer: a comparison between younger (<65) and elderly (≥65) patients.

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Applied Cancer Research - Institution for Translational Research Vienna, Bernardgasse 24, A-1070 Vienna, Austria.



In an aging population an increasing number of breast cancers is diagnosed in elderly women. Tumor characteristics and patterns of metastasation have been extensively elucidated in younger triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients, but data regarding TNBC in elderly women are missing. The goal of this investigation was to compare clinical pathological characteristics of younger and elderly TNBC patients in order to assess their relevance for TNBC in an aging population.


Data of TNBC patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2004 were retrospectively analyzed by computer based chart information. Baseline tumor characteristics, patient demographics and patterns of metastasation were compared between younger (<65 years) and elderly (≥65 years) TNBC patients.


Out of 254 TNBC patients 75.6% were <65 years and 24.4% were ≥65 years. Mean tumor size, tumor grade and number of positive lymph nodes did not differ significantly (p=0.865, 0.115 and 0.442, respectively) between both age groups. Distant visceral metastases occurred significantly more often than bone metastases in both age groups (p<0.001). Local recurrences, bone and secondary lymph node metastases were observed at significantly higher numbers in younger patients (p=0.035, 0.025 and 0.041, respectively). Elderly TNBC patients received significantly less chemotherapy than younger patients (p<0.001).


TNBC of elderly patients is an aggressive breast cancer subtype claiming as much attention as TNBC in younger patients, thus warranting chemotherapeutic intervention irrespectively of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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