Breast-contour preserving procedures for early-stage breast cancer: a population-based study of the trends, variation in practice and predictive characteristics in Denmark and the Netherlands

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PURPOSE: Breast-contour preservation (BCP) is possible for most women treated for early-stage breast cancer. BCP can be defined as primary breast-conserving treatment (BCT), neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) followed by BCT and immediate postmastectomy breast reconstruction (IBR). This study provides insight in current BCP strategies in Denmark and the Netherlands and aims to identify opportunities for improvement within both countries.

METHODS: A total of 92,881 patients with early-stage breast cancer who were operated in Denmark and the Netherlands between 2012 and 2017 were selected from the Danish Breast Cancer Group and the Dutch National Breast Cancer Audit databases. BCP procedures and predictive factors were analyzed within and between both countries.

RESULTS: BCP was achieved in 76.7% (n = 16,355) of the Danish and in 74.5% (n = 53,328) of the Dutch patients. While BCP rate did not change significantly over time in Denmark (p = 0.250), a significant increase in BCP rate from 69.5% in 2012 to 78.5% in 2017 (p < 0.001) was observed in the Netherlands. In both countries, variation in BCP rates between hospitals decreased over time. NAC followed by BCT and postmastectomy IBR was substantially more often used in the Netherlands compared to Denmark, specifically in patients younger than 50 years.

CONCLUSIONS: In more than 75% of all Danish and Dutch patients, surgically treated for early-stage breast cancer, the breast-contour was preserved. The different use of BCP strategies within Denmark and the Netherlands and the differences observed between hospitals in both countries emphasize the need for more (inter)national consensus on treatment modalities.

TidsskriftBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)709-718
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2020

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