Prognostic indicators in early breast cancer

J. A. Figueroa, D. Yee, W. L. McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Approximately 115,000 new cases of axillary node negative breast cancer were diagnosed in this country last year. Since about 20-30% of these patients will ultimately relapse and die of their disease, adjuvant systemic therapy has been advocated for this group to decrease the relapse rate and prolong survival. However, although most clinical trials have demonstrated a modest impact on disease recurrence, the available data have failed to show consistent improvements in overall survival and does not justify the generalized use of systemic treatment in this patient subgroup. For this reason, a plethora of prognostic factors have been described to identify those patients with a higher risk of recurrence to concentrate therapeutic options in this specific group. Of all the disease prognosticators studied, tumor size, nuclear grade, and proliferative indexes appear to correlate well with tumor recurrence. In addition, biologic characteristics of primary tumors such as the presence of hormone and growth factor receptors, secretion of specific polypeptides and proteases, expression of proto-oncogenes, and abnormalities in tumor suppressor genes have been shown to be potentially useful as prognostic indicators in patients with early breast cancer. Despite these provocative data, larger clinical trials are necessary before incorporating these parameters in the routine evaluation of patients with axillary node negative breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • antimetastatic and tumor suppressor genes
  • cell kinetics
  • hormone receptors
  • nuclear grade
  • pS2
  • ploidy, cathepsin D
  • prognostic factors
  • proto-oncogenes
  • tumor size


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