To clarify the effect of postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) on pTN breast cancer patients with different molecular subtypes.
We retrospectively analyzed the data of 5442 patients with pTN breast cancer treated using modified radical mastectomy in 11 hospitals in China. Univariate, multivariate, and propensity score matching (PSM) analyses were used to evaluate the effect of PMRT on locoregional recurrence (LRR).
With a median follow-up duration of 63.8 months, the 5-year LRR rates were 4.0% and 7.7% among patients treated with and without PMRT, respectively (p < 0.001). PMRT was independently associated with reduced LRR after adjustments for confounders (p < 0.001). After grouping the patients according to the molecular subtype of cancer and conducting PSM, we found that the 5-year LRR rates among patients treated with and without PMRT (in that order) were as follows: luminal HER2-negative cancer, 1.9% and 6.5% (p < 0.001); luminal HER2-positive cancer, 3.8% and 13.7% (p = 0.041); HER2-overexpressing cancer, 10.2% and 15.5% (p = 0.236); and triple-negative cancer, 4.6% and 15.9% (p = 0.002). Among patients with HER2-overexpressing and triple-negative cancers, the LRR hazard rate displayed a dominant early peak, and was extremely low after 5 years. However, patients with luminal cancer continued to have a long-lasting high annual LRR hazard rate during follow-up.
PMRT significantly reduced the LRR risk in patients with pTN luminal and triple-negative breast cancers, but had no effect on the LRR risk in patients with HER2-overexpressing cancer. Patients with different molecular subtypes displayed different annual LRR patterns, and the late recurrence of the luminal subtype suggests the necessity of long-term follow-up to evaluate the efficacy of PMRT.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.