Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 7 pp 5894—5906

Risk of breast cancer-related death in women with a prior cancer

Fei Ji1,3, *, , Ci-Qiu Yang1,3, *, , Xiao-Ling Li1,3, *, , Liu-Lu Zhang1,3, , Mei Yang1,3, , Jie-Qing Li1,3, , Hong-Fei Gao1,3, , Teng Zhu1,3, , Min-Yi Cheng1,3, , Wei-Ping Li1,3, , Si-Yan Wu2,3, , Ai-Ling Zhong2,3, , Kun Wang1,3, ,

  • 1 Department of Breast Cancer, Cancer Center, Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou 510080, P.R. China
  • 2 Department of Operation Room, Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou 510080, P.R. China
  • 3 School of Medicine, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, P.R. China
* Equal contribution

Received: September 6, 2019       Accepted: March 24, 2020       Published: April 6, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Ji et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The overall risk of developing a second primary cancer is increasing. The purpose of this study was to analyze the survival of patients with breast cancer diagnosed after a prior cancer and identify risk factors of breast cancer death in this population. Using the SEER database, we identified 1,310 woman diagnosed with breast cancer between 2010 and 2015 after a prior cancer as the primary cohort. Clinicopathological characteristics were compared using the Student t-test and chi-square test. Fine and Gray’s regression was used to evaluate the effect of treatments on breast cancer death. After propensity score matching (PSM), 9,845 pairs of patients with breast cancer as the prior or second cancer diagnosed between 2010 and 2011 were included as a second cohort. PSM-adjusted Kaplan-Meier and Cox hazards models were used to evaluate the impact of prior cancer on survival. The results showed that survivors of gynecologic cancers (e.g., ovarian cancer) had a higher risk of developing breast cancer than survivors of gastrointestinal and urinary tract cancers. More patients died of breast cancer than of prior urinary cancer (53.3% vs. 40%, P < 0.05) and melanoma (66.7% vs. 33.3%, P < 0.05). The ratio of breast cancer deaths to prior cancer deaths was significantly higher in patients with diagnoses interval ≥ 3 years than in those with the interval < 3 years (2.67 vs. 0.69, P < 0.001). Breast cancer-specific survival and overall survival rates were significantly lower in women with breast cancer as the second primary cancer than in those with breast cancer as the prior cancer, especially among hormone receptor-positive women. However, breast cancer treatment decreased the risk of breast cancer -specific death (hazard ratio = 0.695, 95% confidence interval: 0.586–0.725, P < 0.001). Breast cancer patients with prior cancers must be carefully considered for clinical trials.


SPM: Second primary malignancy; PBC: Primary breast cancer; SBC: Subsequent breast cancer; SEER: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results; BCSM: Breast cancer-specific mortality; BCSS: Breast cancer specific survival; OS: Overall survival; PSM: Propensity score matching; TNM: Tumor Node Metastasis; HER2: human epidermal growth factor receptor-2; HR: hormone receptor.