Are there changes in characteristics and therapy of young patients with early-onset breast cancer in Germany over the last decade?

Constanze Banz-Jansen*, Alessa Heinrichs, Marianne Hedderich, Annika Waldmann, Berit Wedel, Imke Mebes, Klaus Diedrich, Achim Rody, Dorothea Fischer

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The objective of the study is to investigate recent changes in patient characteristics and treatment procedures of young breast cancer patients over the last 10 years in Germany. Methods: The study describes the data of 518 patients who were treated adjuvantly between 2008 and 2011 and participated in a resident mother-child program for rehabilitation (cohort II). The data includes TNM-categories, biology of tumor and therapies. This population is compared to a cohort of 535 patients, who were treated between 2002 and 2006 (cohort I). Characteristics and treatment of cohort II are compared with a normally age distributed cohort. Results: 51.5 % of the patients in cohort II were diagnosed with tumor category pT1, 36.9 % pT2, 4.4 % pT3 and 1.2 % pT4. 3.3 % had merely DCIS. 58.1 % of the patients were pN0, 28.4 % pN1 and 13.5 % had a more intense manifestation of lymph nodes. 45.8 % of the tumors showed a grading classified as G3, 69.3 % were estrogen and progesterone hormone receptor positive and 21.8 % Her2 positive. 24.5 % of the examined patients showed a triple negative carcinoma. 66.2 % of the patients with pT1 or pT2 underwent breast-conserving surgery. Overall 19.2 % of the women received mastectomy only and 17.4 % received mastectomy with subsequent reconstruction. 98.6 % of the patients received axillary surgery, 87.6 % chemotherapy. Overall, 21.0 % of the patients received their chemotherapy in connection with clinical studies. 88.0 % of the patients with hormone receptor positive tumors received endocrine therapy, 25.5 % of them with GnRH-analogs. In comparison with cohort I the tumors in cohort II were detected with a higher proportion of negative lymph nodes (48.8 %/58.1 %, p = 0.008) and G1 grading (4.9/5.6 %, p = 0.001). On the other hand the percentage of triple negative tumors increased from 21.0 % to 24.5 % (p = 0.018). Operative therapy has adjusted to a more moderate way. Breast-conserving therapy with pT1 and pT2 increases from 57.3 % to 66.2 % (p = 0.006), sentinel lymph node biopsy only from 24.5 % to 47.5 % (p<0.001) over the years. The percentages of chemotherapy, radiation, endocrine therapy and antibody therapy with positive receptor have stayed stable over the last decade. Comparing cohort II with a normally age distributed group (DMP II 2007-2009) the young patients have still a much lower portion of negative lymph nodes (58.1 %/67.9 %) and positive hormone receptor status (69.3 %/85.1 %). The percentage of a high grading G3 is 45.8 % in cohort II versus 24.7 % in DMP II. The portion of breast-conserving therapy with pT1 is with 68.9 versus 82.2 % still comparatively low. Young patients received more axillary surgery (98.6 %/81.5 %) but less endocrine therapy with hormone receptor positive tumors (93.3 %/94.7 %). Conclusion: Young breast cancer patients in Germany can still be regarded as a special group. Although tumors are now more often detected before reaching the lymph nodes than 10 years ago, an even bigger percentage is triple negative. Operative treatment has improved to a less aggressive way. Still operative and medical treatments have to be chosen after very careful evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)379-383
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2013


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