SEER Data: It Can Be Thought Provoking, But Where Do We Go From Here?
This editorial will more than likely be the shortest in the history of Annals of Surgical Oncology. The article discussed is by Gnerlich et al., entitled “Surgical Removal of the Primary Tumor Increases Overall Survival in Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer: Analysis of the 1988–2003 SEER Data.” The reason for the short editorial is that the authors do an outstanding job of discussing the limitations of their data source.
The bottom line in this manuscript is that patients with first primary stage-IV breast cancer at the time of diagnosis, who were enrolled in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program between 1988 and 2003, had a significant survival advantage following surgical removal of the primary breast tumor compared with women who did not undergo surgery. Following the control for demographic and clinical factors associated with survival in univariate tests and propensity scores, women with metastatic breast cancer were 37% less likely to die during the...
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