PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of chemotherapy on invasive disease-free survival (iDFS) and overall survival (OS) in a nationwide cohort of patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-negative/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, T1abN0 breast cancer.
METHODS: Patients with ER-negative/HER2-negative, T1abN0 breast cancer registered in the Danish Breast Cancer Group database between 2007 and 2016 were identified. The effect of adjuvant chemotherapy on iDFS and OS was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards analysis.
RESULTS: In total, 296 patients were included in the statistical analyses. Of these, 235 (79.4%) received chemotherapy and 61 patients (20.6%) did not. Patients treated with chemotherapy were significantly younger, had a significantly higher proportion of grade 3 tumors, T1b tumors, and tumors of ductal subtype. With 7.7 years of median follow-up, treatment with chemotherapy was associated with a significant improvement in OS in the adjusted analysis, Hazard Ratio 0.35 (95% Confidence Interval (0.15-0.81), p = 0.02), chemotherapy vs. no chemotherapy. In the unadjusted analyses, patients with both T1a and T1b tumors had significantly improved OS with chemotherapy. At 5 years, OS was 100% vs. 94.4% and 93.8% vs. 81.3% for patients with T1a and T1b tumors, respectively, chemotherapy vs. no chemotherapy. With 4.9 years of median follow-up, iDFS was not significantly improved with chemotherapy.
CONCLUSION: Patients with ER-negative/HER2-negative, T1abN0 breast cancer had significantly improved OS when treated with chemotherapy. This improvement was significant in patients with both T1a and T1b tumors, respectively. The effect was, however, limited in patients with T1a tumors.