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The Difference in Prognostic Factors between Early Recurrence and Late Recurrence in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: Nodal Stage Differently Impacts Early and Late Recurrence

posted on 22.05.2013, 01:42 by Sung Gwe Ahn, Hak Min Lee, Sang-Hoon Cho, Suk Jin Bae, Seung Ah Lee, Seung Hyun Hwang, Joon Jeong, Hy-De Lee


Probability of recurrence in patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer remains constant for long periods. We compared tumor burden impact on late versus early recurrence in our cohort with long-term follow-up.


Five hundred and ninety five patients diagnosed with ER-positive breast cancer between 1989 and 2001 were classified into three groups: early recurrence within 5 years, late recurrence after 5 years, and no recurrence. We identified prognostic factors among the groups using logistic regression analysis.


At median follow-up of 11.7 years, among 595 ER-positive women, 98 (16.4%) had early recurrence and 58 (9.7%) had late recurrence. On multivariate analysis, higher nodal stage (N0 vs. N2, odds ratio [OR] 3.189; N0 vs. N3, OR 9.948), higher histologic grade (grade 1 vs. grade 2, OR 3.896; grade 1 vs. grade 3, OR 5.945), age >35 years (OR 0.295), and receiving endocrine therapy (OR 0.293) affected early recurrence. Compared to no recurrence, receiving endocrine therapy (OR 0.285) was solely related to decreased risk of late recurrence. Increased risk of early recurrence was noted with the higher nodal stage when early and no recurrences were compared. This phenomenon was not found in late recurrence. In the last comparison between the early and late recurrence, higher nodal stage (N0 vs. N3, OR 16.779) and higher histologic grade (grade 1 vs. grade 3, OR 18.111) repeatedly weighted for early recurrence.


Nodal burden had an attenuated influence on late recurrence, which suggests that, unlike early recurrence, tumor biology might have a more important role than tumor load for late recurrence in ER-positive disease.