Incidence of isolated local breast cancer recurrence and contralateral breast cancer: A systematic review

Breast. 2018 Jun:39:70-79. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2018.03.011. Epub 2018 Apr 2.


An increasing number of women is surviving breast cancer and due to that at risk of developing an isolated ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR) or a contralateral breast cancer (CBC). Patients' main concern is cancer recurrence. Patient counseling on breast cancer recurrence is challenging. In order to provide healthcare professionals and patients more guidance, a systematic literature review of the incidence of isolated IBTR and CBC in women diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer was performed. Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched from 2000 until October 2015. Multicenter studies reporting an IBTR or CBC rate in curatively treated adult females diagnosed with invasive breast cancer were included. The initial search yielded 6998 potentially relevant articles. Twenty were eligible for inclusion, representing 25 recurrence incidence rates. Both isolated IBTR and CBC incidence rates steadily increased with the length of follow-up, indicating that IBTR and CBC occur even more than 15 years after diagnosis. The annual incidence rate of isolated IBTR and CBC in women diagnosed with an early invasive breast cancer was 0.6% (range: 0.4-1.1%) and 0.5% (range: 0.2-0.7%), respectively. Analyzed data were lacking information about important risk factors and given treatment with regard to the incidence of recurrence, which hampers the prediction of patient tailored recurrence risks. The presented rates are therefore the best available estimates of isolated IBTR and CBC annual incidence rates based on the current literature. Healthcare professionals could use these rates in their communication with patients diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast carcinoma; Contralateral breast cancer; Incidence rate; Ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence; Recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / pathology
  • Risk Factors