Author(s): Azim HA Jr, Partridge AH
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Breast cancer arising at a young age is relatively uncommon, particularly in the developed world. Several studies have demonstrated that younger patients often experience a more aggressive disease course and have poorer outcome compared to older women. Expression of key biomarkers, including endocrine receptors, HER2 and proliferation markers, appears to be different in younger patients and young women are more likely to harbor a genetic predisposition. Despite these differences, little research to date has focused on the biology of these tumors to refine prognosis, and potentially direct treatment strategies, which remain similar to those offered to older patients. Accumulating evidence suggests the differences in breast stroma in younger patients and changes that occur with pregnancy and breastfeeding likely contribute to the different biology of these tumors. Reproductive behaviors appear to impact the biology of tumors developing later in life. In addition, tumors arising during or shortly following pregnancy appear to exhibit unique biological features. In this review, we discuss our emerging understanding of the biology of breast cancer arising at a young age at both the pathologic and the genomic level. We elucidate the potential role of genomic signatures, the impact of pregnancy and breastfeeding on breast cancer biology, and how even current knowledge might advance the clinical management of young breast cancer patients.
This article was published in Breast Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy