Characteristics and chronologically changing patterns of late-onset breast cancer in Korean women of age ≥ 70 years: A hospital based-registry study

Korean Breast Cancer Society

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Women from Asian and western countries have vastly different ages of onset of breast cancer, with the disease tending to occur at an older age in the West. Through an investigation of the patterns of old-onset breast cancer (OBC) in Korean women, we aimed to identify the characteristics of Korean OBC and evaluate whether these patterns are changing in relation to increasing westernization. Methods: This study retrospectively evaluated 102,379 patients who underwent surgical treatment of primary breast cancer between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2013 in Korea. We used hospital -based breast cancer registry and analyzed data from these patients using multiple linear regression analysis to compare the characteristics and chronologically changing patterns between OBC (70 years of age or older) and non-OBC (40–69 years of age) patients in Korea. Results: A total of 6% of the 102,379 patients had OBC. Overall, OBC had more favorable biological features, such as a higher incidence of luminal A subtype, than did non-OBC, except for a higher incidence rate of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, OBC also presented with a higher overall disease stage, including higher T and M stages. Although the incidence rates of both OBC and non-OBC have increased overtime, the relative proportion of OBC patients has slightly increased, whereas that of non-OBC has slightly decreased. The increase in the incidence of both OBC and non-OBC was primarily due to the luminal A subtype. Conclusions: Based on a hospital-based registry, overall, Korean OBC had favorable biological features but showed a higher rate of TNBC and advanced cancer stages. The incidence trend of breast cancer in Korea is slowly shifting toward an older age at onset, largely due to the luminal A subtype. Our results may provide novel insights into OBC in Asia, and aid in the development of optimal management of the disease in Asia. Trial registration: Retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1261
JournalBMC cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital. Further, the article was supported by the Korean Breast Cancer Society.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the 2018 Inje University research grant. The funding body did not have any influence on the design of the study, collection, analysis, interpretation of data or writing of manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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