Pregnancy-associated breast cancer: does timing of presentation affect outcome?

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Breast cancer research and treatment


swedish, swedish cancer, washington


PURPOSE: Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) comprises breast cancer diagnosed during the gestational period or within 12 months postpartum. While the incidence of PABC appears to be increasing, data regarding prognosis remain limited.

METHODS: Here we evaluate clinicopathologic features, treatments, and clinical outcomes among women with stage 0-III PABC diagnosed between 1992 and 2020. Comparisons were made between women who were diagnosed with PABC during gestation and those who were diagnosed within 12 months postpartum.

RESULTS: A total of 341 women were identified, with a median age of 36 years (range 25-46). The pregnancy group comprised 119 (35%) women, while 222 (65%) women made up the postpartum group. Clinicopathologic features were similar between groups, with most patients being parous and presenting with stage I and II disease. Treatment delays were uncommon, with a median time from histologic diagnosis to treatment of 4 weeks for both groups. Recurrence-free survival was similar between groups: 67% at 10 years for both. While 10-year overall survival appeared higher in the postpartum group (83% versus 78%, p = 0.02), only the presence of nodal metastases was associated with an increased risk of death (hazard ratio 5.61, 95% CI 2.20-14.3, p < 0.001), whereas timing of diagnosis and receptor profile did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSION: Clinicopathologic features of women with PABC are similar regardless of timing of diagnosis. While 10-year recurrence-free survival is similar between groups, 10-year overall survival is higher among women diagnosed postpartum; however, timing of diagnosis may not be the driving factor in determining survival outcomes.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children




Obstetrics & Gynecology