Hormone receptor status of a first primary breast cancer predicts contralateral breast cancer risk in the WECARE study population

20 Jul 2017

Abstract Background Previous population-based studies have described first primary breast cancer tumor characteristics and their association with contralateral breast cancer (CBC) risk. However, information on influential covariates such as treatment, family history of breast cancer, and BRCA1/2 mutation carrier status was not available. In a large, population-based, case-control study, we evaluated whether tumor characteristics of the first primary breast cancer are associated with risk of developing second primary asynchronous CBC, overall and in subgroups of interest, including among BRCA1/2 mutation non-carriers, women who are not treated with tamoxifen, and women without a breast cancer family history. Methods The Women’s Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study is a population-based case-control study of 1521 CBC cases and 2212 individually-matched controls with unilateral breast cancer. Detailed information about breast cancer risk factors, treatment for and characteristics of first tumors, including estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status, was obtained by telephone interview and medical record abstraction. Multivariable risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in conditional logistic regression models, adjusting for demographics, treatment, and personal medical and family history. A subset of women was screened for BRCA1/2 mutations. Results Lobular histology of the first tumor was associated with a 30% increase in CBC risk (95% CI 1.0–1.6). Compared to women with ER+/PR+ first tumors, those with ER-/PR- tumors had increased risk of CBC (RR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.1–1.7). Notably, women with ER-/PR- first tumors were more likely to develop CBC with the ER-/PR- phenotype (RR = 5.4, 95% CI 3.0–9.5), and risk remained elevated in multiple subgroups: BRCA1/2 mutation non-carriers, women younger than 45 years of age, women without a breast cancer family history, and women who were not treated with tamoxifen. Conclusions Having a hormone receptor negative first primary breast cancer is associated with increased risk of CBC. Women with ER-/PR- primary tumors were more likely to develop ER-/PR- CBC, even after excluding BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Hormone receptor status, which is routinely evaluated in breast tumors, may be used clinically to determine treatment protocols and identify patients who may benefit from increased surveillance for CBC.