The following article features coverage from the NCCN 2022 Annual Conference. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s conference coverage.

New research suggests that late relapse of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with biological factors alone, unlike rapid relapse, which is associated with both biological and sociodemographic factors.

The study showed that late relapse of TNBC was associated with disease stage at diagnosis and body mass index (BMI). Researchers presented these findings in a poster at the NCCN 2022 Annual Conference.

The researchers assessed data from patients with stage I-III TNBC who received chemotherapy at 1 of 10 academic cancer centers between 1996 and 2012.

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The final analysis included 2210 patients, and 750 of them had late relapse, defined as distant metastatic relapse or death beyond 5 years after diagnosis.

The researchers split patients into training (n=1547) and validation (n=663) cohorts. The team conducted bivariable analyses of the training cohort and identified a significant association between late relapse and BMI, race, income, education, insurance type, age at diagnosis, and stage at diagnosis.

After multivariate analysis and backward selection, the final model included only BMI and disease stage at diagnosis. Patients with late relapse were significantly more likely to have a higher stage at diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] for stage III vs I, 10.9; 95% CI, 7.5-15.9; P <.0001) and a higher BMI (aOR for obese vs normal weight, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-1.8; P=.03).

The researchers repeated the same analyses with the BMI categories combined into 2 larger categories, and having a BMI greater than or equal to 25 (overweight or obese) was significantly associated with late relapse. 

In a prior study, the researchers had examined factors associated with rapid relapse of TNBC and found that it was associated with higher stage at diagnosis, younger age at diagnosis, lower income, and insurance type.

“Taken in conjunction with the present findings of BMI, but not income or insurance type, being significantly associated with late relapse, this may indicate that rapid relapse is associated with sociodemographic factors, while late relapse is associated with biological factors,” said study investigator Adith Abraham, a student at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of NCCN 2022 by visiting the conference page.


Abraham A, Barcenas CH, Bleicher RJ, et al. Clinicopathologic and sociodemographic factors associated with late relapse triple negative breast cancer. Presented at NCCN 2022 Annual Conference; March 31 – April 2, 2022. Abstract CLO22-033.