Variation in second breast cancer risk after primary invasive cancer by time since primary cancer diagnosis and estrogen receptor status

Cancer. 2023 Apr 15;129(8):1173-1182. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34679. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Background: In women with previously treated breast cancer, occurrence and timing of second breast cancers have implications for surveillance. The authors examined the timing of second breast cancers by primary cancer estrogen receptor (ER) status in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

Methods: Women who were diagnosed with American Joint Commission on Cancer stage I-III breast cancer were identified within six Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries from 2000 to 2017. Characteristics collected at primary breast cancer diagnosis included demographics, ER status, and treatment. Second breast cancer events included subsequent ipsilateral or contralateral breast cancers diagnosed >6 months after primary diagnosis. The authors examined cumulative incidence and second breast cancer rates by primary cancer ER status during 1-5 versus 6-10 years after diagnosis.

Results: At 10 years, the cumulative second breast cancer incidence was 11.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.7%-13.1%) for women with ER-negative disease and 7.5% (95% CI, 7.0%-8.0%) for those with ER-positive disease. Women with ER-negative cancer had higher second breast cancer rates than those with ER-positive cancer during the first 5 years of follow-up (16.0 per 1000 person-years [PY]; 95% CI, 14.2-17.9 per 1000 PY; vs. 7.8 per 1000 PY; 95% CI, 7.3-8.4 per 1000 PY, respectively). After 5 years, second breast cancer rates were similar for women with ER-negative versus ER-positive breast cancer (12.1 per 1000 PY; 95% CI, 9.9-14.7; vs. 9.3 per 1000 PY; 95% CI, 8.4-10.3 per 1000 PY, respectively).

Conclusions: ER-negative primary breast cancers are associated with a higher risk of second breast cancers than ER-positive cancers during the first 5 years after diagnosis. Further study is needed to examine the potential benefit of more intensive surveillance targeting these women in the early postdiagnosis period.

Keywords: breast cancer; estrogen receptor; recurrence; surveillance; survivorship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary* / therapy
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Risk Factors


  • Receptors, Estrogen