Prognosis in young women less than 40 years of age with brain metastasis from breast cancer

A. Mustillo, J. P. Ayoub, D. Charpentier, L. Yelle, M. Florescu


Background Brain metastasis from breast cancer (bca) in young women is doubly devastating because both quality of life and life expectancy are significantly reduced. With new radiation technology and drugs that have emerged, survival is expected to increase for these young women.

Methods Using the oacis and sardo patient databases, we identified 121 patients diagnosed with bca and brain metastasis between 2006 and 2016 at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre. Those patients were divided into Group A, patients who developed brain metastasis during the evolution of metastatic bca, and Group B, patients whose first metastasis was to the brain. For each group, we compared young patients (<40 years of age) with older patients (≥40 years of age).

Results Among the 121 patients with brain metastasis, median overall survival (mos) was significantly longer for those less than 40 years of age than for those 40 or more years of age (18 months vs. 4 months, p < 0.001). With respect to the timing of brain metastasis, survival was significantly longer in Group B than in Group A (7 months vs. 4 months, p = 0.032). In Group A, mos was significantly longer for patients less than 40 years of age than for patients 40 or more years of age (18 months vs. 3 months, p = 0.0089). In Group B, the 2-year overall survival rate was 57% for patients less than 40 years of age and 12% for those 40 or more years of age (mos: not reached vs. 7 months; p = 0.259).

Conclusions In our single-centre retrospective cohort of women with brain metastasis from bca, prognosis was better for young women (<40 years) than for older women (≥40 years). Survival was also longer for patients whose initial metastasis was to the brain than for patients whose brain metastasis developed later in the disease course. In patients who received systemic treatment, median survival remained significantly higher in women less than 40 years of age. Further studies are needed to validate those results.


Breast cancer; brain metastasis; age; prognosis

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)