Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 69–80 | Cite as

Influence of young age at diagnosis and family history of breast or ovarian cancer on breast cancer outcomes in a population-based cohort study

  • Jane C. Figueiredo
  • Marguerite Ennis
  • Julia A. Knight
  • John R. McLaughlin
  • Nicky Hood
  • Frances O’Malley
  • Irene L. Andrulis
  • Pamela J. Goodwin
Clinical Epidemiology



The objective of this study was to examine the association of: (i) diagnosis at age ≤35, (ii) first-degree family history of breast or ovarian cancer (BOC) and (iii) a research based definition of genetic risk, with tumor characteristics, treatment and survival in breast cancer (BC).

Patients and methods

Consenting female participants in the population-based Ontario Familial Breast Cancer Registry diagnosed with primary invasive BC between 1996 and 1998 were followed prospectively until 2005.


Among 967 women, 105 were ≤35 years old at diagnosis and 686 were classified as genetic risk cases, including 349 with a first-degree family history. Individuals diagnosed at age ≤35 were more likely to self-detect tumors, to present with inflammatory BC, to have invasive ductal carcinoma of no special type, high T stage, and tumors with lymphovascular invasion (LVI), high grade and negative estrogen receptors. Younger women were more likely to receive chemotherapy and less likely to receive hormonal therapy. Diagnosis ≤35 years old was associated with significantly reduced distant recurrence free survival, an effect that did not persist after adjustment for tumor and treatment related variables. Poor outcomes were restricted to younger women with hormone responsive BC. Family history was associated with increased rates of mammographic detection of BC, lower tumor stage and less frequent inflammatory BC, but had no association with BC outcomes.


Women diagnosed with BC at age ≤35 have more aggressive tumors; these adverse tumor characteristics, rather than age, lead to poor outcomes. Family history was not associated with survival.


Breast cancer Family history Young age Tumor pathology Treatment Survival Population-based Prospective 



The authors would like to acknowledge the important contributions of Gord Glendon, Nayana Weerasooriya and Elaine Maloney of the OFBCR. The content of this manuscript does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the National Cancer Institute or any of the collaborating centers in the B-CFR, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government or B-CFR. This research was supported by the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Agency and the US National Institutes for Health. J.C.F. received a fellowship from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane C. Figueiredo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marguerite Ennis
    • 3
  • Julia A. Knight
    • 1
    • 2
  • John R. McLaughlin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Nicky Hood
    • 1
  • Frances O’Malley
    • 5
    • 6
  • Irene L. Andrulis
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Pamela J. Goodwin
    • 2
    • 8
  1. 1.Samuel Lunenfeld Research InstituteMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Applied StatisticianMarkhamCanada
  4. 4.Division of Preventive OncologyCancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Samuel Lunenfeld Research InstituteMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Samuel Lunenfeld Research InstituteMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada

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