Outcomes in different ethnic groups of New Zealand patients with screen-detected vs. non-screen detected breast cancer

10 May 2019

Ross Lawrenson, Chunhuan Lao, Gregory Jacobson, Sanjeewa Seneviratne, Nina Scott, Diana Sarfati, Mark Elwood and Ian Campbell

To compare characteristics and survival of New Zealand European, Māori, and Pacific women with screen-detected vs. non-screen-detected breast cancer.

Women aged 45-69 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between January 2005 and May 2013 were identified from the Waikato and Auckland Breast Cancer Registries. Patient demographics and tumour characteristics were described by detection mode and ethnicity. Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the five-year breast cancer-specific survival of women with stage I-III breast cancer by ethnicity and detection mode.

Women with screen-detected cancers were older, had smaller tumours, fewer stage IV (0.8% vs. 7.6%), fewer high grade (16.8% vs. 39.0%), and fewer lymph node positive diseases (26.3% vs. 51.5%) than women with non-screen-detected cancers. There were more Luminal A (70.0% vs. 54.0%), fewer human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive non-Luminal (4.4% vs. 8.8%), and fewer triple negative cases (7.0% vs. 13.8%) in screen-detected than non-screen-detected cancers. If not screen detected, 22.7% of breast cancers in Pacific women were stage IV compared with 2.4% if screen detected. If not screen detected, the five-year breast cancer-specific survival was 91.1% for New Zealand European women, 84.2% for Māori women, and 80.2% for Pacific women (p-value <0.001). For screen-detected breast cancer, survival between different ethnic groups was similar.

Breast cancers detected through screening are diagnosed at an earlier stage and have a greater proportion of subtypes, with better outcome. Variations in survival for Māori and Pacific women are only found in women with non-screen-detected breast cancer.