Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brain Metastases More Common in TNBC Patients with Higher Stage Disease

Patients with later stage nonmetastatic triple receptor-negative breast tumors have a significantly increased early incidence of brain metastase, according to a retrospective study published in the Annals of Oncology. Researchers studied 679 patients with nonmetastatic triple receptor-negative breast cancer diagnosed from 1980 to 2006. Other factors—race, age, menopausal status, and grade of disease—were not signi´Čücantly associated with the development of brain metastases. Of the 679:

• 145 (21.4%) were stage 1; 339 (49.9%) were stage 2; and 195 (28.7%) were stage 3.

• 87.3 percent had chemo either before or after surgery.

Median follow-up was 26.9 months. The results:

• 42 (6.2%) of the TNBC patients developed brain metastases —5.6% at 2 years and 9.6% at 5 years.

• 89.5 % of these had stage 3 disease.

• Median survival for all patients who developed brain metastases was 2.9 months.

• Median survival for patients who developed brain metastases as the first site of recurrence was 5.8 months.

Call me a Pollyanna, but I can’t help pointing out that this means that more than 90 percent of those studied DID NOT get brain metastases.

SOURCE: Dawood, S., Broglio, K., Esteva, F. J., Yang, W., Kau, S. . W., Islam, R., Albarracin, C., Yu, T. K., Green, M., Hortobagyi, G. N., and Gonzalez-Angulo, A. M. Survival among women with triple receptor-negative breast cancer and brain metastases. Annals of Oncology, 20(4):621-627.


kim said...


Very interesting study. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! Pollyanna or not, those numbers are to find something to eliminate TN forever!

jojo said...

LOL! You are so right. I was immediately looking at it from the negative perspective!

Patricia Prijatel said...

Kim and Jojo: I am so glad you both picked up on my Pollyanna statement. Sometimes I wonder if I should add that sort of editorial comment--but it seems that the good news does get buried in medical reports. We need all the good news we can get--and docs are so focused on the problem that they sometimes cannot see that reality. Pat