Adjuvant radiation therapy and survival for pure tubular breast carcinoma - Experience from the SEER database

Baoqing Li, Margaret Chen, Dattatreyudu Nori, K. S Clifford Chao, Allen M. Chen, Steven L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Pure tubular carcinoma of the breast (PTCB) represents a distinct subtype of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) that is generally thought to be associated with better prognosis than even low-grade IDC. There has been controversy as to the role of adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) in this population. We hypothesized that adjuvant RT would demonstrate a survival improvement. Methods and Materials: We queried the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database for the years 1992-2007 to identify patients with pure tubular carcinomas of the breast. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and surgical and RT treatments were collected. Survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method for univariate comparisons and Cox proportional hazards modeling for multivariate comparisons, stratifying on the basis of age with a cutoff age of 65. Results: A total of 6465 patients were identified: 3624 (56.1%) patients underwent lumpectomy with RT (LUMP+RT), 1525 (23.6%) patients underwent lumpectomy alone (LUMP), 1266 (19.6%) patients received mastectomy alone (MAST), and 50 (0.8%) patients underwent mastectomy with RT (MAST+RT). When we compared the LUMP+RT and LUMP groups directly, those receiving adjuvant RT tended to be younger and were less likely to be hormone receptor-positive. Overall survival was 95% for LUMP+RT and 90% for LUMP patients at 5 years. For those 65 or younger, the absolute overall survival benefit of LUMP+RT over LUMP was 1% at 5 years and 3% at 10 years. On stratified multivariate analysis, adjuvant RT remained a significant predictor in both age groups (P=.003 in age ≤65 and P=.04 in age >65 patients). Other significant unfavorable factors were older age and higher T stage (age >65 only). Conclusions: Since sufficiently powered large scale clinical trials are unlikely, we would recommend that adjuvant radiation be considered in PTCB patients age 65 or younger, although consideration of the small absolute survival benefit is important. Adjuvant radiation can be omitted for patients older than 65.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Cancer Research


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