Previous studies revealed that patients with early-stage metaplastic breast cancer (MBC) underwent mastectomy more often than breast-conserving therapy (BCT) mainly due to the larger tumor size. This study was performed to compare the survival outcomes following BCT versus mastectomy for patients with early-stage MBC.
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database was used to identify women diagnosed with early-stage MBC (T1-3N0-3M0) between 2001 and 2016, who were treated with either BCT or mastectomy. We assessed overall survival (OS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) using the Kaplan-Meier method and hazard ratios using Cox proportional hazards models.
A total of 2412 MBC patients were identified, 881 (36.5%) of whom underwent BCT and 1531(63.5%) underwent mastectomy. The median follow-up time was 73 months. Most of patients had older age (≥50 years old), larger tumor size, higher American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage and hormone receptor negativity. After adjustment for confounding variables, patients who underwent BCT had significantly improved OS (5-year OS: 84.3% vs 62.5%; 10-year OS: 73.0% vs 52.1%; adjusted HR = 0.76, 95%CI: 0.59-0.97, p = 0.028) and BCSS (5-year BCSS: 89.1% vs 70.8%; 10-year BCSS: 83.9% vs 67.5%; adjusted HR = 0.72, 95%CI: 0.53-0.96, p = 0.026) than those who underwent mastectomy, and this improvement remained significant for all T and N stages of MBC except for N2-3 stage.
BCT conferred improved OS and BCSS compared with mastectomy for patients with early-stage MBC, and the improvement persisted in almost all of the subgroups of different T and N stages.

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