New paper shows differences in location

University of Illinois Cancer Center member Greg Calip served as co-author on a new study that showed regional differences in improved survival of patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer over time. The work was published in the journal Cancer.

Calip, PharmD, MPH, PhD, and his colleagues studied patients in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 9 population and an institutional cohort with de novo metastatic breast cancer (MBC), which is a first diagnosis of breast cancer that is stage IV. The SEER 9 population includes cancer patients in nine U.S. regions, including Seattle-Puget Sound, and is representative of the U.S. population. The study’s lead author, Judith Malmgren, PhD, is affiliate assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

Important findings from the study were:

  • Five-year breast cancer survival improved over time (1999-2011) to 26% in SEER 9 without Seattle-Puget Sound, to 35% in SEER Seattle-Puget Sound only, and to 56% for the institutional cohort. Thus, survival differed significantly by region.
  • Survival improved at the same time as new treatments were introduced.

The study results “indicate that the stage IV population that is living longer may be benefiting from many of the same therapies used to treat early breast cancer, especially for patients who are able to handle adjuvant chemotherapy treatment and are HR-positive,” the researchers said. “However, the lag in survival improvement across different population-based, geographic regions suggests that some groups and regions may benefit unequally from treatment advances as well as timely diagnosis.”

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