Background: Survival estimates from diagnosis are of limited importance for (ex-)breast cancer patients who survived several years, as it includes information on already deceased patients. This study analysed the 10-year conditional risk of recurrent breast cancer in specific prognostic subgroups. Second, we investigated 10-year conditional overall survival (OS) and relative survival (RS), adjusted for confounding.
Patients and methods: All women diagnosed in 2005 with operated T1-2N0-1 breast cancer were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Patients were classified into T1N0, T1N1, T2N0 and T2N1 stage. Ten-year conditional recurrence rates were calculated from diagnosis, and for patients without an event (local [LR], regional recurrence [RR], distant metastasis [DM] or death) every year following diagnosis. Ten-year conditional OS was calculated using multivariable Cox regression. RS was estimated by dividing patient survival rates by those of the general Dutch population.
Results: We included 7969 patients: 52.3% had T1N0, 15.3% T1N1, 19.9% T2N0 and 12.5% T2N1 stage. For T1N0, 10-year LR rates changed from 4.6% at diagnosis to 0.5% in year 10. RR rates changed from 2.3% to 0.2%, and DM rates changed from 7.8% to 0.6%. For T2N1 stage, the LR, RR and DM rates changed from 6.2% to 0.8%, 5.2%–0.4% and 19.6%–1.5%, respectively. For the luminal A subtype, LR, RR and DM rates changed from 3.9% to 0.4%, 1.7%–0.5% and 7.3%–1.1%, while for triple negative, these rates changed from 5.6% to 0.7%, 4.9%–0.2% and 16.7%–0%, respectively. Differences between subgroups attenuated over time, and all recurrence rates became ≤1.5% in year 10. Ten-year OS and RS, adjusted for confounding, showed declining risk differences between subgroups over time.
Conclusion: Differences in recurrence rates, OS and RS between prognostic subgroups declined as years passed by. These results highlight the importance of taking into account disease-free years to more accurately predict (ex-)breast cancer patients’ prognosis over time.
- 10-Year survival
- Breast cancer
- Conditional survival
- Relative survival