Association Between Postpartum Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Metastasis and the Clinical Features Underlying Risk

Erica T. Goddard, Solange Bassale, Troy Schedin, Sonali Jindal, Jeremy Johnston, Ethan Cabral, Emile Latour, Traci R. Lyons, Motomi Mori, Pepper J. Schedin, Virginia F. Borges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Importance: In women 45 years or younger, breast cancer diagnosis after childbirth increases the risk for metastasis and death, yet limited data exist to define this window of risk and associated prognostic factors. Objective: To assess the window of elevated risk for metastasis following a postpartum breast cancer (PPBC) diagnosis and whether clinical prognostic factors are associated with the increased risk. Design, Setting, and Participants: This multicenter cohort study conducted using cases from the Colorado Young Women's Breast Cancer Cohort diagnosed between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 2014, included 701 women 45 years or younger with stage I to III invasive breast cancer for whom parity data, including time of last childbirth, were available. Data analysis was conducted from July 1 to September 30, 2017. This study involved a tertiary care academic hospital-based breast center and its regional affiliates with cases from the greater Rocky Mountain region. Exposures: Primary exposures were prior childbirth or no childbirth, time between most recent childbirth and breast cancer diagnosis, and time between breast cancer diagnosis and metastasis. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was distant metastasis-free survival. Results: A total of 701 women 45 years or younger from the greater Rocky Mountain states region were included in the analysis; mean (SD) age at diagnosis was 37.9 (5.1) years. Breast cancer diagnosis within 10 years after parturition was associated with elevated risk for metastasis, particularly in women with stage I or II disease. In addition, women with PPBC diagnosed within 10 years of a completed pregnancy that was estrogen receptor-positive showed distant metastasis-free survival similar to that of nulliparous patients with estrogen receptor-negative cancer, and women with estrogen receptor-negative PPBC had further reduced metastasis-free survival. Moreover, women with PPBC had increased lymphovascular invasion and lymph node involvement. In addition, tumor-associated Ki67 positivity identified 129 patients with luminal B cancer in the cohort that, independent of parity status, had poorer prognosis compared with patients with luminal A cancer, although it did not reach statistical significance. Conclusions and Relevance: Diagnosis of PPBC within 10 years post partum appears to be associated with an increased risk for metastasis. This increased risk was highest in stages I and II cancer at diagnosis and present in both patients with estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative cancer, persisting in estrogen receptor-positive cases for up to 15 years after diagnosis. Postpartum breast cancer diagnoses were not associated with increased Ki67 index but were associated with increased lymphovascular invasion and lymph node involvement compared with breast cancer in nulliparous patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e186997
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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