A study of ductal versus non-ductal invasive breast carcinomas in older women: long-term clinical outcome and comparison with their younger counterparts
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Ductal carcinoma is the commonest histological type found in invasive breast carcinomas and may be associated with worse prognosis, when compared to non-ductal carcinoma. Older patients tend to display more favourable tumour biology than younger patients. This study aimed to investigate the significance of histological type and its relationship with clinical outcome in the older group. A total of 808 older (≥70 years) women with early operable primary breast cancer underwent surgery as their primary treatment, followed by optimal adjuvant therapies, in the Nottingham Breast Unit between 1973 and 2009. The histological types of the surgical specimens were reviewed and compared with those in a previously characterised younger (<70 years) series (N = 1,733), in terms of distribution and correlation with clinical outcome. Ductal type was associated with a significantly worse clinical outcome when compared to non-ductal type in the older group in terms of 10-year rates of metastasis-free survival (75 vs 79 %, p = 0.028) and overall survival (44 vs 52 %; p = 0.015). Similar worse clinical outcome was found with the ductal type in the younger group in terms of 10-year rates of metastasis-free survival (65 vs 79 %; p = 0.001) and overall survival (60 vs 78 %; p = 0.001). For all patients with ductal type carcinomas, the older series showed significantly better 10-year metastasis-free survival (75 vs 65 %, p < 0.001) and breast cancer-specific survival (75 vs 69 %, p = 0.025) when compared to the younger series. In both old and the young, ductal cancers were associated with poor survival outcome when compared to non-ductal cancers. When compared to their younger counterparts, older patients with ductal type carcinomas had better metastasis-free and breast cancer-specific survival rates (their lower overall survival was likely to be due to death from other causes), despite having a lower likelihood of receiving adjuvant systemic therapy.
KeywordsElderly breast cancer Histological types Prognosis
We would like to acknowledge all the breast care nurses in the unit for their services in taking care of patients involved in the study.
Conflict of interest
Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
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