Incidence and time trends of brain metastases admissions among breast cancer patients in Sweden

Br J Cancer. 2012 May 22;106(11):1850-3. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.163. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Background: While treatment for breast cancer has been refined and overall survival has improved, there is concern that the incidence of brain metastases has increased.

Methods: We identified patients in Sweden with incident breast cancer 1998-2006 in the National Cancer Register, and matched these to the National Patient Register to obtain information on hospital admissions for distant metastases. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed with Cox regression as estimates of relative risk.

Results: Among 50 528 breast cancer patients, 696 (1.4%) were admitted with brain metastases during median 3.5 years of follow-up. Admissions for other metastases were found in 3470 (6.9%) patients. Compared with the period 1998-2000, patients diagnosed with breast cancer 2004-2006 were at a 44% increased risk of being admitted with brain metastases (HR 1.44, 95% CI 1.13-1.85).

Conclusion: The incidence of admissions with brain metastases in breast cancer patients was increasing in the mid-2000s in Sweden. These findings support a true increase in incidence of brain metastases among breast cancer patients.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time