Navigation Links
Study finds pregnancy has no impact on breast cancer survival, delays treatment, diagnosis

HOUSTON - Young women who develop breast cancer during their pregnancy, or who are diagnosed within one year of their pregnancy, have no difference in rates of local recurrence, distant metastases and overall survival compared to other young women with the disease, according to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

However, the largest single-institution study to look at pregnant breast cancer patients finds that women with Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer (PABC), are more likely to be diagnosed later with advanced stages of the disease and, thus, have necessary treatment delayed.

The findings are published in the March 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

"Breast cancer in young women is a highly aggressive disease, and it's important that we study it in hopes of making a difference in terms of treatment," said Beth Beadle, M.D., a radiation oncology resident at M. D. Anderson and the study's first author. "When we looked at our young breast cancer population, a relatively large percentage had disease affiliated with pregnancy. We thought it would be really instructive to review our data to determine how we can best serve these women."

It's estimated that up to 3.8 percent of pregnancies are complicated by breast cancer, and approximately 10 percent of breast cancer patients under age 40 develop the disease during pregnancy, said the researchers. As the age for first and subsequent pregnancies increases and intersects with advances in imaging and screening, this statistic will only continue to climb, explained George Perkins, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Radiation Oncology.

"Because we see care for large volume of patients who are young, as well as those who are young and pregnant, we wanted to see if there was something additive going on that is attributed to pregnancy, or if the response to treatment and behavior of the disease is a phenomenon of young age itself," said Perkins, the study's senior author.

For the retrospective study, Beadle, Perkins and their colleagues reviewed the records of 652 M. D. Anderson breast cancer patients, all were 35-years-old or younger at the time of diagnosis and treated at M. D. Anderson between 1973 and 2006. Of those women, 104 (15.6 percent) had PABC - 51 developed their cancer during their pregnancy and 53 developed the disease within one year post-pregnancy. Median follow-up for PABC patients compared to non-PABC patients was 95.5 months versus 91 months respectively.

When comparing the PABC and the non-PABC cohorts, the researchers found no statistical difference between the 10-year rates of: locoregional recurrence (23.4 percent, PABC; 19.2 percent, non-PABC), metastasis (45.1, percent PABC; 38.9 percent, non-PABC), or overall survival (64.6 percent, PABC; 64.8 percent, non-PABC).

"What we did find, however, is that women with PABC presented with more advanced disease, both in the breast and lymph nodes," said Beadle. "These women seem to have a significant delay in diagnosis, and their symptoms were not identified as breast cancer for an extended period of time - putting them at a disadvantage by withholding necessary treatment."

In an analysis of the 51 PABC patients who developed breast cancer during their pregnancy, 26 received some form of treatment; 25 received no therapy. Of those 25, 22 patients (88 percent) had disease symptoms that were not evaluated; three had a breast cancer diagnosis but were advised not to begin treatment until after delivery.

In PABC patients, the overall survival in those who received therapy was 78.7 percent, compared to 44.7 percent in those who receive none, though researchers caution that these statistics reflect a small sample size. Regardless, the researchers say it's important to note that there was no difference in the statistic by decade, reiterating there's still progress to be made in terms of diagnosing and treating the disease during pregnancy.

"Women really need to be aware of changes to their breasts that persist, even during pregnancy and to discuss these changes immediately with their doctor," said Perkins. "The study also proves that there's a vital opportunity for physicians to focus on complete breast care during a patient's pregnancy, and should include cancer as a possible diagnosis. Persistent complaints should be monitored aggressively, with breast exams, imaging and biopsy, all being conducted as necessary."

M. D. Anderson has a long history of being at the forefront of treating pregnant women for breast cancer. In 1992, Richard Theriault, D.O., professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology, opened the first protocol examining a chemotherapeutic regimen for the management of these patients. He later published seminal studies proving that the regimen was safe for both pregnant mother and unborn child; it has since been adopted as the standard of care. M. D. Anderson has the largest active registry in the world following the health of pregnant breast cancer patients and their children.


Contact: Laura Sussman
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related medicine news :

1. Canada-wide study on slow progressors to investigate new treatments for HIV
2. New Vivisimo Case Study Details Medical Search
3. Penn study shows how electronic medical records can be used to test drug efficacy
4. Genome Study Points to New Culprit for Schizophrenia
5. New Clinical Study Presented at the Society for Critical Care Medicine Shows Value of Pulse CO-Oximetry(TM) to Identify Acquired Methemoglobinemia
6. New Study Provides Benchmarks for Best Practices for Valuing Internal Consulting Organizations
7. MSU study finds high level of medical mistrust among minority women impacts quality of health care
8. Transition Therapeutics Announces Completion of Patient Enrolment of Phase 2 Study of TT-223 in Type 2 Diabetes Patients
9. New study raises concerns about screen time among urban children with asthma
10. Study Reveals Consumers Want to Buy Products That Dental Hygienists Recommend
11. Methamphetamine use cost the US about $23 billion in 2005, RAND study estimates
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... American Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved around the fact that proper dental ... health. The talk stressed the link between periodontal disease (more commonly referred to as ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented ... way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed ... 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or ... to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a ... will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice from parenting ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the ... LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. , Making the ... a version of Asterisk that will receive not only security fixes, but feature ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... 2015  The GE Health Cloud 1 was unveiled ... North America (RSNA) meeting in ... the new cloud ecosystem and its applications will connect radiologists ... and multidisciplinary teams – both inside and outside the hospital ... of GE. "As the digital industrial leader, we are betting ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... 29, 2015   National Decision Support Company (NDSC) ... base, including notable statewide implementations. As a result, ... ACR Select, more than 1 million times per ... ACR Select provides real-time feedback on the most ... has been implemented at over 100 healthcare systems ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 27, 2015 --> ... go online. The potential to save costs, improve treatment ... far from fully exploited as yet. Here, particular emphasis ... either via mobile tablet or directly at the patients, ... ) -->      (Photo: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: