Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Learning More About Breast Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

According to study results published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, adolescents and young adults (younger than age 40) with breast cancer seem to have more advanced disease (and triple-negative and HER2-positive breast cancer) and received more invasive treatment than patients between the ages of 40 and 49. Brittany L. Murphy, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, and colleagues suggest that further studies are needed to understand the connection and how factors such as family history and genetic mutations impact outcomes.

“The adolescents and young adult patients had higher rates of mastectomy and use of chemotherapy than the adult breast cancer patients, reflecting that more aggressive therapy is recommended or chosen for women in this age group,” the investigators concluded.

A total of 46,265 patients with breast cancer between the ages of 15 to 49, who had been diagnosed between 2010 and 2015, were identified from the National Cancer Database. Their data were compared with information from 169,423 patients with breast cancer between the ages of 40 and 49. The patients’ tumors and disease were analyzed using Chi-square tests, and multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the impact of the age group on treatment type.

A higher number of younger patients had clinical stage 2 or 3 disease than did the adult patients (44.3% vs. 29.9% and 14.0% vs. 7.7%, respectively). The younger patients also had a higher likelihood of receiving chemotherapy (odds ratio = 1.9) or a mastectomy (odds ratio = 2.1). Furthermore, more younger patients had triple-negative or HER2-positive breast cancer than their older counterparts (triple-negative: 21.2% vs. 13.8%; HER2-positive: 26.0% vs. 18.6%).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest. 

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