Ten-year conditional recurrence risks and overall and relative survival for breast cancer patients in the Netherlands: Taking account of event-free years

Marissa C. van Maaren*, Luc J. A. Strobbe, Marjolein L. Smidt, Martine Moossdorff, Philip M. P. Poortmans, Sabine Siesling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Survival estimates from diagnosis are of limited importance for (ex-) breast cancer patients who survived several years, as it includes information on already deceased patients. This study analysed the 10-year conditional risk of recurrent breast cancer in specific prognostic subgroups. Second, we investigated 10-year conditional overall survival (OS) and relative survival (RS), adjusted for confounding. Patients and methods: All women diagnosed in 2005 with operated T1-2N0-1 breast cancer were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Patients were classified into T1N0, T1N1, T2N0 and T2N1 stage. Ten-year conditional recurrence rates were calculated from diagnosis, and for patients without an event (local [LR], regional recurrence [RR], distant metastasis [DM] or death) every year following diagnosis. Ten-year conditional OS was calculated using multivariable Cox regression. RS was estimated by dividing patient survival rates by those of the general Dutch population. Results: We included 7969 patients: 52.3% had T1N0, 15.3% T1N1, 19.9% T2N0 and 12.5% T2N1 stage. For T1N0, 10-year LR rates changed from 4.6% at diagnosis to 0.5% in year 10. RR rates changed from 2.3% to 0.2%, and DM rates changed from 7.8% to 0.6%. For T2N1 stage, the LR, RR and DM rates changed from 6.2% to 0.8%, 5.2%-0.4% and 19.6% e1.5%, respectively. For the luminal A subtype, LR, RR and DM rates changed from 3.9% to 0.4%, 1.7%-0.5% and 7.3%-1.1%, while for triple negative, these rates changed from 5.6% to 0.7%, 4.9%-0.2% and 16.7%-0%, respectively. Differences between subgroups attenuated over time, and all recurrence rates became <= 1.5% in year 10. Ten-year OS and RS, adjusted for confounding, showed declining risk differences between subgroups over time. Conclusion: Differences in recurrence rates, OS and RS between prognostic subgroups declined as years passed by. These results highlight the importance of taking into account disease-free years to more accurately predict (ex-) breast cancer patients' prognosis over time. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • Conditional survival
  • Survivors
  • Recurrence
  • 10-Year survival
  • Relative survival
  • CARE
  • FEAR

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