Overall survival is the lowest among young women with postpartum breast cancer

Elena Shagisultanova, Dexiang Gao, Eryn Callihan, Hannah J. Parris, Betsy Risendal, Lisa M. Hines, Martha L. Slattery, Kathy Baumgartner, Pepper Schedin, Esther M. John, Virginia F. Borges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Women diagnosed with breast cancer prior to age 45 years (<45y) and within the first 5 years postpartum (postpartum breast cancer, PPBC) have the greatest risk for distal metastatic recurrence. Methods: Pooling data from the Colorado Young Women Breast Cancer cohort and the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study (N = 2519 cases), we examined the association of parity, age, and clinical factors with overall survival (OS) of breast cancer over 15 years of follow-up. Results: Women with PPBC diagnosed at <45y had the lowest OS (p < 0.0001), while OS of nulliparous cases diagnosed at <45y did not differ from OS of cases diagnosed at 45-65y regardless of parity status. After adjustment for study site, race/ethnicity, clinical stage, year of diagnosis and stratification for oestrogen receptor status, PPBC remained an independent factor associated with poor OS. Among cases diagnosed at <45y, nulliparous cases had 1.6 times better OS (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.61, 95%CI 0.42–0.87) compared to those with PPBC, with a more pronounced survival difference among stage I breast cancers (HR = 0.30, 95%CI 0.11–0.79). Among very young women diagnosed at age ≤35y, nulliparous cases had 2.3 times better OS (HR = 0.44, 95%CI 0.23–0.84) compared to PPBC. Conclusion: Our results suggest that postpartum status is the main driver of poor prognosis in young women with breast cancer, with the strongest association in patients diagnosed at age ≤35y and in those with stage I disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Breast cancer
  • Overall survival
  • Postpartum breast cancer
  • Young women's breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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