Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 144, Issue 7, pp 1347–1355 | Cite as

Patterns of breast cancer relapse in accordance to biological subtype

  • Atanas Ignatov
  • Holm Eggemann
  • Elke Burger
  • Tanja Ignatov
Original Article – Clinical Oncology



To evaluate the pattern of recurrence of breast cancer according to its biological subtype in a large cohort of patients treated with therapy representative of current practice.

Patients and methods

Patients treated between 2000 and 2016 with known biological subtype were eligible. Data were prospectively collected. Primary endpoint was the subtype-dependent pattern and time of recurrence. Loco-regional and distant site and time of recurrence were assessed.


Median follow-up time was 80.8 months. For 12,053 (82.5%) of 14,595 patients with primary non-metastatic invasive breast cancer a subtype classification was possible. The luminal A subtype had the highest 10-year survival followed by luminal B and luminal/HER2. The worst survival demonstrated HER2 enriched and TNBC. HER2 and TNBC had the highest rate of recurrence in the first 5 years, whereas the rate of recurrence for luminal A and luminal B tumors was initially low, but remained continuously even after 10 years of follow-up. Luminal A tumors demonstrated the lowest rate of distant metastases predominantly in bone. So did luminal B tumors. HER2 enriched subtype was characterized with increased rate of loco-regional recurrence and distant metastases in bone, liver and brain. Luminal/HER2 had pattern of relapse similar to HER2 enriched tumors, with exception of loco-regional relapse and brain metastases. TNBC had higher rate of lung, bone and brain metastases as well as loco-regional relapse.


Breast cancer subtypes are associated with different time and pattern of recurrence and it should be considered during treatment decision.


Breast cancer Subtype Recurrence Metastasis 



This study was not funded.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Research and Ethical Committee, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany proved the study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all patients before treatment. An additional individual consent for this analysis was not needed. Before analysis, patient data underwent a pesudonymisation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyOtto-von-Guericke UniversityMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biometry and Medical InformaticsOtto-von-Guericke UniversityMagdeburgGermany

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