Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 1061–1066 | Cite as

Pathologic features and molecular phenotype by patient age in a large cohort of young women with breast cancer

  • L. C. CollinsEmail author
  • J. D. Marotti
  • S. Gelber
  • K. Cole
  • K. Ruddy
  • S. Kereakoglow
  • E. F. Brachtel
  • L. Schapira
  • S. E. Come
  • E. P. Winer
  • A. H. Partridge
Brief Report


Prior studies have suggested a higher prevalence of high grade, ER-negative, HER2-positive, and basal-like carcinomas in young women with breast cancer. However, the precise distribution of poor prognostic features in this population remains unclear. We examined the pathologic features and distribution of molecular phenotype in relation to patient age in a large group of young women (≤40 years) with invasive breast cancer. Medical records were reviewed for clinical characteristics, tumor stage, and receptor status. Pathologic features, including those features associated with basal-like carcinomas, were examined by central review. Using tumor grade and biomarker expression, cancers were categorized as luminal A (ER+ and/or PR+ and HER2−, histologic grade 1 or 2); luminal B (ER+ and/or PR+ and HER2+, or ER and/or PR+, HER2− and grade 3); HER2 (ER and PR− and HER2+); and triple negative (ER−, PR−, and HER2−). Among 399 women of ≤40 years, 33% had luminal A tumors, 35% luminal B, 11% HER2 (ER-negative), and 21% triple negative. Compared to published results for all breast cancers, a greater proportion of young women had luminal B tumors, and a lesser proportion had luminal A. There were no significant differences in molecular phenotype, tumor stage or grade among the different age groups of young women. However, this population of young women presented with a different distribution of molecular phenotypes compared to the general population of women with breast cancer. These findings may have implications with regard to the etiology and prognosis of breast cancer in young women.


Breast cancer Molecular phenotypes Young women Prognosis Luminal B 


Conflict of interest

There are no financial disclosures to report for any of the contributing authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. C. Collins
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • J. D. Marotti
    • 2
    • 3
  • S. Gelber
    • 4
  • K. Cole
    • 6
  • K. Ruddy
    • 4
    • 5
  • S. Kereakoglow
    • 4
  • E. F. Brachtel
    • 5
    • 7
  • L. Schapira
    • 5
    • 7
  • S. E. Come
    • 1
    • 5
  • E. P. Winer
    • 4
    • 5
  • A. H. Partridge
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterLebanonUSA
  3. 3.Dartmouth Medical SchoolHanoverUSA
  4. 4.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  5. 5.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Metrowest Medical CenterFraminghamUSA
  7. 7.Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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