Multiple breast cancers may present with different clinical and biological characteristics as compared with unicentric disease, and in certain instances this may have implications as far as treatment is concerned. Multiple tumors may have increased lymph node involvement compared with unifocal tumors, and some available data suggest that multifocal/multicentric breast cancer is actually more aggressive and carries worse overall outcomes than unifocal disease. In other studies, multifocality itself does not appear to be a contributing factor for worse outcome; more aggressive systemic disease or decreased response to systemic therapies, instead, seem to play a role. It has been suggested that multi- and unifocal tumors do not share the same biology since factors other than those currently employed for staging and prognostic purposes have been shown to affect behavior. In fact, the prognostic impact of multiple breast cancer has been poorly studied, and the necessity for specific adjuvant treatment in order to counteract the potentially unfavorable effect of multifocality is still subject to investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)