Aims: Women under 35 years of age comprise a small proportion of patients with breast cancer, but determining their prognosis can be difficult. This prospective, multivariate study looked at several factors with the aim of obtaining a useful index to evaluate the prognosis of these women.
Methods: In total, 108 patients below 35 years of age affected by invasive ductal carcinoma without distant metastasis were studied. The mean duration of the follow up period was six years. Histopathological (tumour size, histological grade, and lymph node stage) and immunohistochemical (c-erbB-2, p53, oestrogen receptor, and progesterone receptor) factors were measured in all patients, and the Nottingham prognostic index (NPI) was then calculated. An immunohistochemical prognostic index (IHPI) was created using the arithmetic sum of the four individual immunohistochemical factors.
Results: In univariate assessment of survival, all the studied factors yielded a significant association with either overall survival or disease free survival, except for c-erbB-2 and p53 with disease free survival. In univariate calculation of risk, all the factors gave significant results; however, in multivariate analysis only tumour size, histological grade, and progesterone receptor were significant. Both NPI and IHPI correlated significantly with prognosis. In multivariate regression analysis, IHPI correlated with tumour size and there was a significant interaction between both variables.
Conclusion: IHPI is very useful in determining the prognosis of tumours ⩽ 2 cm and of moderate use for tumours > 2, although it has no use in tumours > 5 cm.
- young women
- breast cancer
- immunohistochemical prognostic index
- oestrogen receptor
- progesterone receptor
- Nottingham prognostic index
- ER, oestrogen receptor
- IHPI, immunohistochemical prognostic index
- NPI, Nottingham prognostic index
- PR, progesterone receptor
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