Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 217–226 | Cite as

Benefits and risks of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy in women undergoing treatment for sporadic unilateral breast cancer: a decision analysis

  • Nataniel H. Lester-Coll
  • Janie M. Lee
  • Keerthi Gogineni
  • Wei-Ting Hwang
  • J. Sanford Schwartz
  • Robert G. Prosnitz
Brief Report


The rate of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) is rising rapidly, despite limited evidence about the procedure’s relative benefits and harms. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of CPM on life expectancy (LE) and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) in women with sporadic unilateral breast cancer. A Markov model was developed to compare 18 hypothetical cohorts of 45-year-old women with newly diagnosed unilateral, sporadic breast cancer treated with or without CPM. The probability of developing distant metastases by American Joint Committee on Cancer stage and molecular subtype was derived from British Columbia Cancer Agency data. Additional model parameters were identified from the medical literature. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the impact of plausible variations in key model parameters on results. CPM improved LE in all cohorts (range 0.06–0.54 years). Stage had more effect on LE than subtype (stage I mean, 0.44 years, stage III mean, 0.11 years). However, after adjusting for quality-of-life, No CPM was favored in all cohorts. Univariate sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the most influential model parameter was the post-CPM health state utility. The preferred strategy shifted from No CPM to CPM when the post-CPM utility exceeded 0.83 (base case value 0.81). PSA indicated that LE gains and QALE decreases were stable in all cohorts. The primary determinant of survival after unilateral breast cancer is stage at diagnosis. Our results suggest that routine CPM would not improve quality-adjusted survival for the majority of women with unilateral sporadic breast cancer.


Breast cancer Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy Quality-of-life Decision analysis Markov model 



The authors would like to thank the National Institutes of Health for their grant support (K07CA128816—Lee), Hess Foundation (Endowed Chair—Schwartz) and Dr. Hagen Kennecke of the British Columbia Cancer Agency for providing their clinical database used in our model.

Supplementary material

10549_2015_3462_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (42 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 41 kb)
10549_2015_3462_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (34 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 33 kb)
10549_2015_3462_MOESM3_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nataniel H. Lester-Coll
    • 1
  • Janie M. Lee
    • 2
  • Keerthi Gogineni
    • 3
  • Wei-Ting Hwang
    • 4
  • J. Sanford Schwartz
    • 3
  • Robert G. Prosnitz
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Therapeutic RadiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUnited States
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUnited States
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Abramson Cancer CenterUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUnited States
  4. 4.Center for Clinical Epidemiology & BiostatisticsUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUnited States
  5. 5.The John and Dorothy Morgan Cancer CenterLehigh Valley Health NetworkAllentownUnited States

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