The pattern of metastases in human breast cancer. Influence of systemic adjuvant therapy and impact on survival

Acta Oncol. 1988;27(6A):715-9. doi: 10.3109/02841868809091774.


Of the 3,802 patients enrolled in the DBCG 77 protocols, 863 developed clinical recurrence within a median follow-up time of 4.9 years (range 2.0-7.0). More than 69% of these had their first recurrence confined to a single anatomical site and 12% had more than two metastatic sites. The most common sites were bone (35%), lung (23%), skin (22%), and regional lymph nodes (16%). The observation period after first recurrence was 3.6 years (range 0.8-6.4). Survival after recurrence was significantly related both to the location and the number of metastases. Patients who were given adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 134) had significantly fewer metastatic sites and significantly more frequent liver metastases than untreated patients (n = 50). Patients who received adjuvant tamoxifen (n = 154) had the same number of metastatic sites, but more often had lung metastases than untreated patients (n = 201). These results probably reflect that metastases in different anatomical locations differ with respect to sensitivity to antineoplastic treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tamoxifen