July 27, 2021

Prediction models for breast cancer

Vanderbilt researchers developed new prognostic models for breast cancer outcomes and found that adding postdiagnostic weight change as a factor improves the prediction.

by Leigh MacMillan

Tools to predict breast cancer outcomes help guide clinical decisions, but validation in diverse populations is lacking. 

Fei Ye, PhD, MSPH, and colleagues sought to develop and validate prognostic models for Asian breast cancer patients. 

The researchers used data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a population-based prospective study of 5,042 patients, to develop models using clinical factors and biomarkers. They evaluated whether the addition of modifiable lifestyle factors (such as physical activity, soy intake and weight change) further improved the prediction. 

The final models validated well in the U.S. National Cancer Database, best in Asian-American women. The findings, reported in the journal Cancer, support their potential for guiding treatment and recurrence prevention decisions.

Postdiagnostic weight change was identified as an independent predictor — greater weight change in either direction is associated with worse prognosis. The authors hope the study will increase patient awareness and motivation to maintain a healthy weight after breast cancer diagnosis.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants CA178680, CA098131).