Detection and significance of small and low proliferation breast cancer
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of Medical Screening. 2022, 29 (1), 32-37. 10.1177/09691413211023970
Objectives To determine the frequency and discuss possible implications of early breast cancer with particularly good prognosis and defined by tumor diameter and cell proliferation. Setting Detection of small and slowly growing tumors presents a challenge in breast cancer management, due to the risk of over-treatment. Here, we attempted to define a group of such tumors by combining small diameter (≤10 mm, T1ab tumors) with low tumor cell proliferation (≤10% Ki67 expression rate). These tumors were termed small low proliferation cancers (SLPC). Methods Two population-based cohorts were studied: a small research series (n = 534), and a nation-wide registry-based series of prospectively collected routine data (n = 8433). In the latter, we stratified by detection mode; screen-detected, interval, and breast cancers detected outside of screening. Patients were treated according to national guidelines at time of their diagnosis. For both cohorts, we compared tumor histopathology and risk of breast cancer death using a log-rank test for cases with SLPC versus non-SLPC. Results In the research series (median follow-up 151 months), the frequency of SLPC was 10% (54/534), with one breast cancer death compared with 78 among the remaining 480 cases of non-SLPC (p = 0.008). In the registry series (median follow-up 42 months), the frequency of SLPC was 10% (854/8433), with five deaths compared to 187 among the remaining 7579 cases (p = 0.0004). Conclusions SLPC was associated with very low risk of breast cancer death. Prospective randomized trials are needed to clarify whether less aggressive treatment could be a safe option for women with such early breast cancers.