New thesis on long-term prognosis in young women with breast cancer
Hanna Fredholm from the group Breast Surgery will defend her thesis "Breast cancer in young women : aspects on mortality and local recurrence" on April 7, 2017. Main Supervisor is Irma Fredriksson.
What's the main focus of your thesis?
We have studied long-term prognosis in young women with breast cancer with the aim to find out why young women have a worse survival than middle-aged women.
Which are the most important results?
Breast cancer before age 40 is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage with larger tumors and more often lymph node metastases. Their tumors are more often highly proliferative, estrogen receptor negative and Her2-positive, demanding a more intense treatment. When adjusting for stage, tumor biology and treatment we found age-related differences in survival to be present only in in tumors with estrogen receptor positive, Her2-negative biology and only in early stage disease. In this group, women aged below 40 years had twice the risk of distant metastases compared to middle-aged women.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?
We have defined the group of young women with breast cancer having a worse prognosis and thereby identified where intensified research is to be focused. We need to better understand why low age still is a risk factor in this group and whether the treatment for young women could be further optimized.
What are your future ambitions?
I am a breast surgeon at Karolinska University Hospital and I will continue to increase the quality of the care for our patients. In our research group with focus on breast cancer in young women, we will continue to look for the causes behind age-related differences in survival by using the unique population-based cohort with associated tumor tissue bank we have collected. The explanation of remaining differences in survival by age may be found in factors related to stroma, stem cells, angiogenesis and immune response. We will also evaluate if the age-related differences in survival have diminished over time through introduction of more modern treatments.