Pregnancy-associated breast cancer and increased risk of pregnancy-associated recurrence: a case report
BACKGROUND Estrogen is an established growth factor in breast cancer and it has been hypothesized that pregnancy associated estrogens may increase the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. In 1997 we published a population-based Danish study indicating no negative prognostic effect of pregnancy after breast cancer treatment. The present study is a ten-year update. MATERIAL AND METHODS Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group has since 1977 collected population-based data on tumour characteristics, treatment regimes, and follow-up status on Danish women with breast cancer. Pregnancy history was added from the Danish Civil Registration System, the National Birth Registry, and the National Induced Abortion registry. Cox regression was used to estimate the risk ratio of dying among women with a pregnancy after breast cancer treatment compared with women without such experience. RESULTS In all, 10 236 women with primary breast cancer aged 45 years or less at the time of diagnosis were followed for 95 616 person years. Among these, 371 women experienced pregnancy after treatment of breast cancer. In a multivariate analysis that included age at diagnosis, stage of disease, and pregnancy history prior to diagnosis, women who had a full-term pregnancy subsequent to breast cancer treatment were found to have a reduced risk of dying (relative risk: 0.73; 95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.99) compared with other women with breast cancer. The effect was not significantly modified by age at diagnosis, tumour size, nodal status, or pregnancy history before diagnosis of breast cancer. Neither spontaneous abortions nor induced abortions subsequent to breast cancer treatment had a negative impact on prognosis. CONCLUSION In line with our previous study, but based on more than twice the patient material, we found no evidence that a pregnancy after treatment of breast cancer has a negative influence the prognosis.