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Pregnancy-associated breast cancer: a multicenter study comparing clinicopathological factors, diagnosis and treatment outcomes with non-pregnant patients

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Abstract

Purpose

Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC), defined as breast carcinoma diagnosed during pregnancy or in the first post-partum year, is one of the most common gestation-related malignancies with reported differences in tumor characteristics and outcomes. This multicenter study aims to review cases of PABC in Singapore, including their clinicopathological features, treatment, and clinical outcomes compared to non-PABC patients.

Methods

Demographic, histopathologic and clinical outcomes of 93 PABC patients obtained from our database were compared to 1424 non-PABC patients.

Results

PABC patients presented at a younger age. They had higher tumor and nodal stages, higher tumor grade, were more likely to be hormone receptor negative and had a higher incidence of multicentric and multifocal tumors. Histological examination after definitive surgery showed no significant difference in tumor size and number of positive lymph nodes suggesting similar neoadjuvant treatment effects. Despite this, PABC patients had worse outcomes with poorer overall survival and disease-free survival, OS (P < 0.0001) and DFS (P < 0.0001). Termination of pregnancy did not improve survival.

Conclusion

Patients with PABC present at a higher stage with more aggressive disease and have poorer outcomes compared to non-PABC patients. Reducing delay in diagnosis and treatment may help improve survival.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Funding

The authors declare that no funds, grants, or other support were received during the preparation of this manuscript.

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Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were performed by QTT, VSA, KWJL, ALG and FYW. Data analysis was performed by RS, QTT, VSA and FYW. QTT and VSA contributed equally to the first draft of the manuscript. All authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Qing Ting Tan.

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Tan, Q.T., Alcantara, V.S., Sultana, R. et al. Pregnancy-associated breast cancer: a multicenter study comparing clinicopathological factors, diagnosis and treatment outcomes with non-pregnant patients. Breast Cancer Res Treat 198, 53–66 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10549-022-06855-2

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