This study investigated the trends over time in age and stage specific population-based survival of estrogen receptor negative (ER−) breast cancer patients by examining the fraction of cured patients and the median survival time for uncured patients. Cause-specific survival data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for cases diagnosed during 1992–1998 were used in mixed survival cure models to evaluate the cure fraction and the extension in survival for uncured patients. Survival trends were compared with adjuvant chemotherapy data available from an overlapping patterns-of-care study. For stage II N+ disease, the largest increase in cure fraction was 44–60% (P = 0.0257) for women aged ≥70 in contrast to a 7–8% point increase for women aged <50 or 50–69 (P = 0.056 and 0.038, respectively). For women with stage III disease, the increases in the cure fraction were not statistically significant, although women aged 50–69 had a 10% point increase (P = 0.103). Increases in cure fraction correspond with increases in the use of adjuvant chemotherapy, particularly for the oldest age group. In this article, for the first time, we estimate the cure fraction for ER− patients. We notice that at age ≥70, the accelerated increase in cure fraction from 1992 to 1998 for women with stage II N+ compared with stage III suggests a selective benefit for chemotherapy in the lower stage group.
Survival Cure fraction Breast cancer ER− Chemotherapy