Most Women Face 6 to 22 Percent Risk of Breast Cancer Metastases

The risk of early breast cancer spreading to another part of the body ranges from 6 to 22 percent, according to research presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer Sixth International Consensus Conference (ABC 6), held virtually from Nov. 4 to 6.

Eileen Morgan, Ph.D., from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis that included data from more than 400 international studies.

The researchers found that the overall risk of metastasis for most breast cancer patients is between 6 and 22 percent. Women first diagnosed before 35 years of age have a 12.7 to 38 percent risk of their breast cancer coming back and spreading to other parts of the body, while women diagnosed at ≥50 years have a risk of 3.7 to 28.6 percent. Risk also varies by type of breast cancer, with women diagnosed with luminal B cancer having a risk between 4.2 and 35.5 percent, compared to a 2.3 to 11.8 percent risk seen in women diagnosed with luminal A cancer.

“This information is, of course, important for patients who want to understand their prognosis,” Shani Paluch-Shimon, M.D., a member of the Scientific Committee for ABC 6 and director of the breast unit at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, said in a statement. “But it’s also vital at a public health level for those of us working to treat and prevent advanced breast cancer to help us understand the scale of the disease around the world. It will help us identify at-risk groups across different populations and demonstrate how disease course is changing with contemporary treatments.”

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