The aim of the study was to assess the rate, pattern, and time of recurrence in patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and to evaluate factors influencing recurrence and overall survival in this group of patients. Out of 2,534 consecutive breast cancer patients diagnosed between January 2005 and December 2006, 228 (9 %) were TNBC (ER/PR/HER2-negative). The clinicopathological characteristics were determined using descriptive statistics. The overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The univariate and multivariate analyses were developed to identify factors influencing recurrence and survival in TNBC patients. After 6 years of observation, metastatic disease occurred in 35 % of all TNBC patients: 15 % in the brain, 14 % in the lungs, 11 % in the bones, 8 % in the liver, and 14 % had locoregional relapse. The highest risk of recurrence was during the first 3 years after primary treatment, and then, during the next 2 years of observation, it did not change. 6-year DFS and OS were 68 and 62 %, respectively. Factors influencing recurrence were tumor size and systemic adjuvant chemotherapy, while factors influencing overall survival were tumor size, nodal status, adjuvant/neoadjuvant treatment, and metastases in the brain, liver, and bones. Characteristic pattern of recurrence in time was revealed. The tumor size was responsible for recurrence despite lack of involvement of lymph nodes. Aggressive adjuvant/neoadjuvant treatment ordered in all clinical stages of TNBC (including N0) was factor responsible for avoiding local and distant relapse and prolonging overall survival.

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Medical Oncology
Department of Biostatistics

Pogoda, K, Niwińska, A, Murawska, M, & Pieńkowski, A. (2013). Analysis of pattern, time and risk factors influencing recurrence in triple-negative breast cancer patients. Medical Oncology, 30(1). doi:10.1007/s12032-012-0388-4