Younger Breast Cancer Patients Have Worse Prognosis

They make up unique subset of breast cancers with shared genetic patterns

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients aged 45 and younger have a worse prognosis than their older counterparts, and their disease represents a subset of breast cancers that share gene expression patterns, according to a study published in the July 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Carey K. Anders, M.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study of 784 early-stage breast cancers in 200 women aged 45 and younger, and 211 women aged 65 and older. The prognoses of the two groups were compared, as were clinico-pathologic variables, mRNA expression values, and single-gene and gene set enrichment analysis.

The younger women had lower estrogen receptor positivity, larger tumors, higher overexpression of Her2, positivity in the lymph nodes, higher-grade tumors and were more likely to have lower rates of disease-free survival, the investigators found.

"This comprehensive study confirms our belief that breast cancer arising in young women is a unique disease entity driven by complex biologic processes extending beyond hormone receptors and hereditary cancer syndromes," the authors write. "This analysis hopefully provides a clearer understanding into the biologic complexity driving breast cancer arising at a young age and offers hope in providing young women superior preventative and therapeutic options."

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