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Schrodi, S.; Braun, M.; Andrulat, A.; Harbeck, N.; Mahner, S.; Kiechle, M.; Klein, E.; Schnelzer, A.; Schindlbeck, C.; Bauerfeind, I.; Schubert-Fritschle, Gabriele; Nekljudova, V.; Mayr, D.; Weichert, W.; Denkert, C.; Loibl, S.; Engel, J. (2021): Outcome of breast cancer patients with low hormone receptor positivity. Analysis of a 15-year population-based cohort. In: Annals of Oncology, Vol. 32, No. 11: pp. 1410-1424
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BACKGROUND Guideline recommendations for the treatment of breast cancer with low hormone receptor (HR) expression (1%-9%) are ambiguous and several studies showed more similarities with HR-negative tumors than with HR strongly positive tumors (\geq10%). We used a population-based 15-year cohort to compare patient characteristics and outcome of HR low positive tumors with HR-negative and HR strongly positive tumors, respectively. PATIENTS AND METHODS A total of 38 ~560 women diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer between 2004 and 2018 within the scope of the Munich Cancer Registry with 4.9 million inhabitants were included. Descriptive analyses of prognostic factors, treatment, and outcome analyses using the Kaplan-Meier method; cumulative incidence in consideration of competing risks; and multivariate analyses (Cox regression and Fine-Gray model) were conducted. Endpoints were time to local recurrence (TTLR), time to lymph node recurrence (TTLNR), time to metastasis (TTM), overall survival (OS), and relative survival (RS). RESULTS A total of 861 patients (2%) had HR low positive, 4862 (13%) HR-negative, and 32 ~837 (85%) HR strongly positive tumors. Within the HER2-negative cohort (n~= 33 ~366), survival of HR low positive tumors was significantly worse than that of HR strongly positive tumors OS hazard ratio 0.66 (95{\%} confidence interval 0.55-0.78), whereas between HR low positive and HR-negative tumors no significant survival difference could be detected OS hazard ratio 0.93 (95{\%} confidence interval 0.78-1.11). TTLR, TTLNR, and TTM showed similar results. By contrast, within the HER2-positive cohort (n~= 5194), no statistically significant differences between the three HR groups could be detected in multivariate analyses. CONCLUSION Current definitions for HR positivity and its clinical relevance should be reconsidered. Patients with HR low positive/HER2-negative tumors could be regarded and treated similar to patients with triple-negative tumors.