High-risk breast cancer patients do not appear to have a higher risk of relapse than the general breast cancer population during the first two years after diagnosis, unless their cancer has spread to more than 10 axillary lymph nodes, Italian researchers reported today at the 2nd ESMO Scientific & Educational Conference (ESEC) in Budapest, Hungary.
Dr. Marina Cazzaniga from Treviglio Hospital, Italy, and colleagues in the NORA study, have been studying 3,500 patients being treated for breast cancer. They identified five groups of patients considered at high risk and analyzed their rate of relapse.
The five groups were:
"We found that patients with ER+/PgR- status, or high expression of HER2 or fewer than 10 positive axillary nodes do not seem to have an increased risk of relapse in comparison to the whole population," Dr. Cazzaniga said. "Massive involvement of axillary nodes seems to be the only factor associated with a higher risk of developing distant or local relapse."
"Our results reflect what happens in an unselected population of breast cancer patients, so they are very close to the clinical reality," Dr. Cazzaniga added. "In clinical practice, benefits do not derive only from one study, but from an accurate use of different strategies resulting from different trials and tailored to individual patients. Our study probably reflects the magnitude of benefits of the application of various studies on the whole population."
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