Breast cancer is increasing in the industrialised countries. Due to early detection and adjuvaut treatment with radiotherapy, hormones and chemotherapy, mortality has decreased. The different adjuvant treatments have adverse effects. It is an important task is to estimate the risk of recurrence for the individual patient in order to tailor her individual treatment. This thesis aims at identifying predictors for disease development in primary and disseminated breast cancer.
Histologic grade was strongly correlated to breast cancer mortality in 630 patients with primary breast cancer. The combination of grade, tumour size and lymph node status in the Nottingham Prognostic Index provides a powerful instrument separating patients in groups with excellent, good, intermediate and poor prognosis.
Grade was more sensitive than S-phase fraction in identifying high risk patients and patients with very good prognosis.
Presence of cancer cells in blood- and lymph vessels close to the tumour in patients with grade 3 tumours increased the risk oflocoregional recurrence 6-fold as compared to patients with grade 1 or 2 tumours without such vascular invasion.
The mortality of young women with breast cancer has decreased very little since 1960. Women under 37 years of age had increased tumour size, more metastatic lymph nodes and doubled rate of high grade tumours as compared to older women.
Disease-free interval and survival in patients with distant recurrence were strongly associated to histologic grade and hormone receptor content. Patients with grade 3, hormone receptor negative tumours had a median survival of 10 months after recurrence while only 15 % of women with receptor positive, grade 1 tumours have so far died after a median follow-up time of 5 years after recurrence.
The Nottingham Prognostic Index and assessments of presence of tmnour cells in vessels provide important information about the risk oflocoregional and distant recurrence in breast cancer. Treatment decisions, counselling and follow-up programmes should be based on such assessments. For patients with metastatic breast cancer, tumour grade, estrogen receptor status and serum-c-erbB-2 predict the course of the disease.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2000. , 64 p.
2000-05-26, Ögonklinikens föreläsningssal, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)