About 20% of Women With Earlier Stage Breast Cancer Progress to Metastatic Disease Within 20 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Angela Mariotto PhD Chief of the Data Analytics Branch  Surveillance Research Program (SRP) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences National Cancer Institute 

Dr. Mariotto

Angela Mariotto PhD
Chief of the Data Analytics Branch
Surveillance Research Program (SRP)
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute (NCI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Progressing to metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is one of the major concerns for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Before our study there were no reliable numbers on risk of metastatic breast cancer recurrence after a (non-metastatic) breast cancer diagnosis, as registries do not routinely collect this data.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: The most important fact was that we could combine cancer survival data from the registries with external information on survival from recurrence to fill gaps in the data and extract information on the risk of progressing to.metastatic breast cancer, which is probably the most important thing that women want to know when they are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Other important findings were the insights the estimates provided into how the risk of recurrence varies. We found that the risks of progressing to metastatic breast cancer were lower for women diagnosed with breast cancer more recently, at younger ages, early stage and hormonal receptor status positive.

We also found that while women diagnosed with hormonal receptor-positive breast cancer had a lower risk of recurrence soon after diagnosis, their risk persisted for longer than for women with HR-negative breast cancer, for whom the risks sharply decreased as they moved further out from diagnosis. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: I think these estimates will be very useful to oncologists to give patients a sense of what average risks have been over time. Our most contemporary overall estimates suggest that 19 percent of women diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer will progress to metastatic breast cancer within 20 years of diagnosis. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The methods developed in this study could be applied to other cancer sites for example to colon, melanoma, bladder and ovary cancers, to improve our understanding of the burden of cancer in the population. However, there is still a need for individual data on recurrence at the population level. Although, there has been recent developments on methods and algorithms that use different source of data (claims data, pathology reports, lab tests and imaging) to capture recurrence, they have been limited in nature and more research is needed to leverage this data to the population level and make this data available for cancer research.


Can We Use Survival Data from Cancer Registries to Learn about Disease Recurrence? The Case of Breast Cancer

Angela B. Mariotto, Zhaohui Zou, Fanni Zhang, Nadia Howlader, Allison W. Kurian and Ruth Etzioni

DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-1129 Published November 2018

Nov 9, 2018 @ 12:53 am 

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