Being 40 or younger is an independent risk factor for relapse in operable breast cancer patients: The Saudi Arabia experience

Naser Elkum, Said Dermime, Dahish Ajarim, Ali Al-Zahrani, Adher Alsayed, Asma Tulbah, Osama Al Malik, Mohamed Alshabanah, Adnan Ezzat, Taher Al-Tweigeri

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Abstract

Background: Breast cancer in young Saudi women is a crucial problem. According to the 2002 annual report of Saudi National Cancer Registry, breast cancers that developed before the age of 40 comprise 26.4% of all female breast cancers comparing to 6.5% in the USA. Breast cancer in young patients is often associated with a poorer prognosis, but there has been a scarcity of published data in the Middle East population. Methods: Total of 867 breast cancer patients seen at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSH&RC) between 1986 and 2002 were reviewed. Patients were divided in two age groups: ≤ 40 years and above 40 years. The clinicopathological characteristics and treatment outcomes were compared between younger and older age groups. Results: Median age at presentation was 45 years. A total of 288 (33.2%) patients were aged ≤ 40 years. Hormone receptors were positive in 69% of patients 40 and 78.2% of patients above 40 (p = 0.009). There was a significantly higher incidence of grade III tumor in younger patients compared to older patients (p = 0.0006). Stage, tumor size, lymphatic/ vascular invasion, number of nodes and axillary lymph node status, did not differ significantly between the two age groups. Younger patients had a greater probability of recurrence at all time periods (p = 0.035). Young age had a negative impact on survival of patients with positive axillary lymph nodes (p = 0.030) but not on survival of patients with negative lymph nodes (p = 0.695). Stage, tumor size, nodal status and hormonal receptors had negative impact on survival. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 87.9% of younger and 65.6% of older patients (p < 0.0001). In terms of hormone therapy, the proportion of tamoxifen treated patients was significantly lower in young age group (p < 0.0001). No significant difference in radiation therapy between the two groups. Conclusion: Young age (≤ 40) is an independent risk factor for relapse in operable Saudi breast cancer patients. The fundamental biology of young age breast cancer patients needs to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number222
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Elkum, N., Dermime, S., Ajarim, D., Al-Zahrani, A., Alsayed, A., Tulbah, A., Al Malik, O., Alshabanah, M., Ezzat, A., & Al-Tweigeri, T. (2007). Being 40 or younger is an independent risk factor for relapse in operable breast cancer patients: The Saudi Arabia experience. BMC Cancer, 7, [222]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-7-222