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Table 1 Patient and tumor characteristics in relation to breast cancer subtypea

From: Prognostic impact of circulating tumor cell apoptosis and clusters in serial blood samples from patients with metastatic breast cancer in a prospective observational cohort

Variables All patients
N = 52
Hormone receptor positive
(ER+, PgR±, HER2-)
N = 39
HER2 positive
(HER2+, ER±, PgR±)
N = 7
Triple-negative
(ER-, PgR-, HER2-)
N = 4
P-value
Age at MBC diagnosis      
 Median (range) 60 (40–83) 64 (40–83) 57 (45–76) 51 (42–57) 0.10
  < 50 years 12 9 1 2 0.45
  ≥ 50 years 40 30 6 2  
Time to recurrence      
 Median (range in years) 5.3 (0–27.6) 5.1 (0–27.6) 1.7 (0–5.3) 1.3 (1.2–2.3) 0.007
 Nr of patients with stage IV at diagnosis 9 5 4 0 0.44
NHG      
 I 2 2 0 0 0.50
 II 23 18 2 2  
 III 18 13 2 2  
 Unknown 9 6 3 0  
Ki67      
 Low (≤20%) 5 5 0 0 0.071
 High (>20%) 16 8 4 4  
 Unknown 31 26 3 0  
First-line systemic therapy      
 Endocrine only 11 11 0 0 b
 Chemotherapy only 35 28 1 4  
 HER2-directed (with chemotherapy) 6 0 6 0  
Metastatic site at BL      
 Locoregional 3 1 0 2 0.30
 Skeletal only 19 15 3 1  
 CNS 1 1 0 0  
 Visceral (two with unknown subtype) 28 21 4 1  
 Other locations 1 1 0 0  
Number of metastatic locations      
 1–2 32 24 4 3 0.74
 3 or more 20 15 3 1  
  1. a Breast cancer subtype was derived from the primary tumor (n = 40) and, if no primary tumor tissue was available, from the metastasis (n = 10). Two patients had insufficient tissue for subtype assessment
  2. b No statistical analysis was performed for this clinically descriptive variable
  3. WBC-CTC, white blood cells associated with CTC; ER, estrogen receptor; PgR, progesterone receptor; HER2, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; BL, base-line; NHG, Nottingham histological grade; MBC, metastatic breast cancer; mo, months