A nation-wide multicenter 10-year (1999-2008) retrospective clinical epidemiological study of female breast cancer in China

BMC Cancer. 2011 Aug 22;11:364. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-364.


Background: According to the very limited cancer registry, incidence and mortality rates for female breast cancer in China are regarded to be increasing especially in the metropolitan areas. Representative data on the breast cancer profile of Chinese women and its time trend over years are relatively rare. The aims of the current study are to illustrate the breast cancer profile of Chinese women in time span and to explore the current treatment approaches to female breast cancer.

Methods: This was a hospital-based nation-wide and multi-center retrospective study of female primary breast cancer cases. China was divided into 7 regions according to the geographic distribution; from each region, one tertiary hospital was selected. With the exception of January and February, one month was randomly selected to represent each year from year 1999 to 2008 at every hospital. All inpatient cases within the selected month were reviewed and related information was collected based on the designed case report form (CRF). The Cancer Hospital/Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CICAMS) was the leading hospital in this study.

Results: Four-thousand two-hundred and eleven cases were randomly selected from the total pool of 45,200 patients and were included in the analysis. The mean age at diagnosis was 48.7 years (s.d. = 10.5 yrs) and breast cancer peaked in age group 40-49 yrs (38.6%). The most common subtype was infiltrating ductal carcinoma (86.5%). Clinical stage I & II accounted for 60.6% of 4,211 patients. Three-thousand five-hundred and thirty-four cases had estrogen receptor (ER) and progestin receptor (PR) tests, among them, 47.9% were positive for both. Two-thousand eight-hundred and forty-nine cases had human epidermal growth factor receptor 2(HER-2) tests, 25.8% of them were HER-2 positive. Among all treatment options, surgery (96.9% (4,078/4,211)) was predominant, followed by chemotherapy (81.4% (3,428/4,211). Much less patients underwent radiotherapy (22.6% (952/4,211)) and endocrine therapy (38.0% (1,599/4,211)).

Conclusions: The younger age of breast cancer onset among Chinese women and more advanced tumor stages pose a great challenge. Adjuvant therapy, especially radiotherapy and endocrine therapy are of great unmet needs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Reproductive History
  • Retrospective Studies