Patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer should be followed up for years after diagnosis of operable cancer in order to prevent recurrence, according to results from a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Study investigators sought to identify patient populations that are still at risk for recurrence at 24 years median follow-up. A total of 4105 patients were studied.

Results showed that the highest recurrence occurred during the 5 years after diagnosis, with the peak (15.2%) occurring between the first and second year. During the first 5 years, those with ER-positive disease had a lower annualized hazard than those with ER-negative disease (9.9% vs 11.5%; P = .01).

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After 5 years, however, those with ER-positive disease experienced higher hazards (5 to 10 years: 5.4% vs 3.3%; 10 to 15 years: 2.9% vs 1.3%; 15 to 20 years: 2.8% vs 1.2%; and 20 – 25 years 1.3% vs 1.4%; P < .001). The elevated annualized hazards of recurrence were stable after 10 years, even for patients with no axillary involvement.


  1. Colleoni M, Sun Z, Price KN, et al. Annual hazard rates of recurrence for breast cancer during 24 years of follow-up: results from the international breast cancer study group trials I to V [published online ahead of print January 19, 2016]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.5137.