Treatment of breast cancer in young women: Do we need more aggressive therapies?

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Breast cancer diagnosed in young patients has been reported to have a more aggressive biologic behaviour and to be associated with a more unfavorable prognosis compared with the disease in older patients. However controversies exist regarding the optimal treatment and if more aggressive therapies are really crucial in this population. Very young women with this disease are faced with personal, family, professional, and quality-of-life issues that further complicate the phase of treatment decision-making. Moreover it's mandatory in young patients to consider the impact of acute but also late toxicities in relation to long life-expectancy, too. Dose-dense and high-dose chemotherapy are two examples of more aggressive therapies that failed to show a clear beneficial in a feasible way compared to standard regimens also in young patients. The benefit evidenced in patients with ER-positive disease raises the hypothesis that efficacy of dose-intensive chemotherapy might simply be related to its endocrine effects. The study of the biology and of the oncogenic pathways should be a research priority so to aid management of young patients with breast cancer, and more important, to better tailor treatments that could be offered to young women or, simply to use better the modalities available today. For the time being, young age alone should not be a reason to prescribe more aggressive therapies and there are no evidence to recommend a specific chemotherapy regimen for young women

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Biology
  • Breast cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Treatment
  • Young

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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