Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 199–204

Tumor size is an unreliable predictor of prognosis in basal-like breast cancers and does not correlate closely with lymph node status

  • William D. Foulkes
  • Matthew J. Grainge
  • Emad A. Rakha
  • Andrew R. Green
  • Ian O. Ellis
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-008-0102-6

Cite this article as:
Foulkes, W.D., Grainge, M.J., Rakha, E.A. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2009) 117: 199. doi:10.1007/s10549-008-0102-6

Abstract

Larger breast tumors tend to be associated with a greater number of axillary lymph nodes involved with metastatic tumor than are smaller tumors. This rule may not fully apply in BRCA1-related breast cancers. We hypothesized that the rule also might not apply in basal-like breast cancers (BLBC), and further, that disruption of this relationship would impact on prognosis. In 1,324 non-BLBC (87.1% of 1520 tumors), after adjustment for grade, a strongly positive correlation between increasing tumor size and increasing number of lymph nodes involved by tumor was observed (P for trend <.001). The correlation was much weaker in 196 BLBC (12.9%) (P for trend = 0.58). Similarly, a worsening breast cancer-specific survival with increasing tumor size was observed in non-BLBC (P for trend <.001) but not in BLBC (P for trend = 0.43). The “size-nodes” relationship in BLBC is distinct and is similar to that seen in BRCA1-related breast cancer, further suggesting biological similarities between these sub-types of breast cancer. Moreover, tumor size is not a strong indicator of prognosis in BLBC.

Keywords

Basal-like breast cancerHER2Luminal ALuminal BTumor sizeLymph node statusSurvivalBreast cancerPoisson distribution

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. Foulkes
    • 1
  • Matthew J. Grainge
    • 2
  • Emad A. Rakha
    • 3
    • 4
  • Andrew R. Green
    • 3
  • Ian O. Ellis
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Program in Cancer Genetics, Departments of Oncology and Human GeneticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Community Health SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  3. 3.School of Molecular Medical SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  4. 4.Department of HistopathologyNottingham Universities Hospital NHS TrustNottinghamUK