Benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in node-negative T1a versus T1b and T1c triple-negative breast cancer

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Breast cancer research and treatment


PURPOSE: National comprehensive cancer network guidelines recommend delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy in node-negative triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) if the tumor is > 1 cm and consideration of adjuvant chemotherapy for T1b but not T1a disease. These recommendations are based upon sparse data on the role of adjuvant chemotherapy in T1a and T1b node-negative TNBC. Our objective was to clarify the benefits of chemotherapy for patients with T1N0 TNBC, stratified by tumor size.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of survival outcomes of TNBC patients at two academic institutions in the United States from 1999 to 2018. Primary tumor size, histology, and nodal status were based upon surgical pathology. The Kaplan-Meier plot and 5-year unadjusted survival probability were evaluated.

RESULTS: Among 282 T1N0 TNBC cases, the status of adjuvant chemotherapy was known for 258. Mean follow-up was 5.3 years. Adjuvant chemotherapy was delivered to 30.5% of T1a, 64.7% T1b, and 83.9% T1c (p < 0.0001). On multivariable analysis, factors associated with delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy were tumor size and grade 3 disease. Improved overall survival was associated with use of chemotherapy in patients with T1c disease (93.2% vs. 75.2% p = 0.008) but not T1a (100% vs. 100% p = 0.3778) or T1b (100% vs. 95.8% p = 0.2362) disease.

CONCLUSION: Our data support current guidelines indicating benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy in node-negative TNBC associated with T1c tumors but excellent outcomes were observed in the cases of T1a and T1b disease, regardless of whether adjuvant chemotherapy was delivered.

Medical Subject Headings

Breast Neoplasms; Chemotherapy, Adjuvant; Female; Humans; Neoplasm Staging; Retrospective Studies; Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms

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ePub ahead of print





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