Disease Severity, Presentation, and Clinical Outcomes Among Adolescents With Malignant Breast Neoplasms: A 20-Year Population-Based Outcomes Study From the SEER Database (1973-2009)

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Primary breast cancer in adolescents is extremely rare and thus is not widely studied. This study aimed to evaluate trends, characteristics, and outcomes among a cohort of adolescents with breast cancer.

Patients and Methods

A total of 657,712 female patients with breast cancer from Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database (1973-2009) were analyzed, and 91 adolescents were identified. Three age groups (under 20 years, 20-50 years or premenopausal, and > 50 years or postmenopausal) were compared for tumor size, stage, receptor status, and outcomes. Categorical data were compared by chi-square (Fisher) test and continuous data with Student's t test.


Median age was 19 years (range, 10-20 years). A total of 52.7% (n = 48) and 5.5% (n = 5) of patients presented with invasive and in-situ cancers, respectively, and 37.3% (n = 34) with sarcomas. Median tumor size of invasive cancers was 3.2 cm (range, 0.1-12.5 cm). Sixty percent of patients presented with regional disease, and the majority (28%) of those tested were receptor negative. Mortality rates in adolescents were higher than pre- and postmenopausal patients in localized and regional stage. Overall median survival was 106 months.


Although rare, breast cancer does occur in adolescent girls and must be considered in differential of breast masses in females under 20, especially with strong breast cancer family history. Prognosis maybe worse than in older patients; however, the sample size is small. Delay in diagnosis, aggressive tumor biology, and negative receptor status may affect prognosis. Routine breast examination in high-risk older adolescents may permit early identification and avoid delay in diagnosis and treatment.


Very little is known about the pattern of breast cancer disease in adolescent girls. Age at presentation, family history of breast cancer or BRCA mutation carriers, screening and diagnosis, type of surgery and reconstruction, long term effects of chemotherapy and radiation are all questions that have not been fully investigated in this age group. In the present manuscript, we present the patterns of malignant breast disease in the adolescent group.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles