Background: There is no consensus on how to separate contralateral breast cancer (CBC) occurring as distant spread of the primary breast cancer (BC) from an independent CBC.
Methods: We used standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) to analyse the variations in the risk of CBC over time among 6629 women with BC diagnosed between 1954 and 1983. To explore the most appropriate cutoff to separate the two types of CBC, we analysed the deviance between models including different cutoff points as compared with the basal model with no cutoff date. We also performed a prognostic study through a Cox model.
Results: The SIR was much higher during the first 2 years of follow-up than afterwards. The best cutoff appeared to be 2 years. The risk of early CBC was linked to tumour spread and the risk of late CBC was linked to age and to the size of the tumour. Radiotherapy was not selected by the model either for early or late CBC risk.
Conclusion: A clearer pattern of CBC risk might appear if studies used a similar cutoff time after the initial BC.