Characteristics and prognosis for molecular breast cancer subtypes in Chinese women

J Surg Oncol. 2009 Aug 1;100(2):89-94. doi: 10.1002/jso.21307.


Background: Breast cancer is regarded as a heterogeneous disease with four molecular subtypes. However, the clinicopathological characteristics among the different subtypes have not been studied in Chinese demographic. This study clarifies the prevalence and clinicopathological features of each subtype and investigates the independent prognosis factors in the Chinese population.

Methods: A retrospective review of 1,820 Chinese breast cancer women were classified into different molecular subtypes based on the IHC-based definitions for ER, PR, and HER-2/neu to evaluate the clinicopathological features and prognosis.

Results: Luminal A subtype was the most prevalent with the oldest median age at first full-term birth. The basal cell-like subtype was associated with early onset, higher percentage of node positivity, family history of breast cancer, increased tumor size, advanced tumor grade, higher prevalence in the premenopausal group, and the earlier age at menarche. Univariate and multivariate analysis of OS and RFS identified the basal cell-like and HER-2/neu subtypes as negative prognostic factors. A family history was an independent predictor of shorter RFS and OS in only the basal cell-like subtype.

Conclusions: The basal cell-like subtype is associated with a poor prognosis and a family history was a negative predictor in the basal cell-like subtype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2