US breast cancer mortality drops dramatically in 15 years

May 1, 2007

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Breast cancer mortality decreased 24% between 1990 and 2003 in the United States, mostly among women with estrogen receptor-positive tumors, according to study findings published online April 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ismail Jatoi, MD, PhD, of the National Naval Medical Center and Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues used data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program to assess trends in breast cancer mortality between 1990 and 2003.

During the study period, overall breast cancer mortality dropped 24%, from 33 per 100,000 woman-years in 1990 to 25 per 100,000 woman-years in 2003. Mortality rates for estrogen receptor-positive tumors decreased 13% (from 6.1 to 5.3 per 100,000 woman-years), compared to 4% for estrogen receptor-negative tumors. Between 1990 and 2003, the relative hazard rates for women with estrogen receptor-positive tumors who were diagnosed before age 70 declined 38%, compared to a decline of 19% for older women.

Jatoi I, Chen BE, Anderson WF, et al. Breast Cancer Mortality Trends in the United States According to Estrogen Receptor Status and Age at Diagnosis. J Clin Oncol. Published online ahead of print, Apr 2 2007. http:// http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/abstract/JCO.2006.09.2106v1/.