Purpose This study investigated the role of the education level (EL) as a prognostic factor for breast cancer and analyzed the relationship between the EL and various confounding factors. Materials and Methods The data for 64,129 primary breast cancer patients from the Korean Breast Cancer Registry were analyzed. The EL was classified into two groups according to the education period; the high EL group (≥ 12 years) and low EL group (< 12 years). Survival analyses were performed with respect to the overall survival between the two groups. Results A high EL conferred a superior prognosis compared to a low EL in the subgroup aged > 50 years (hazard ratio, 0.626; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.577 to 0.678) but not in the subgroup aged ≤ 50 years (hazard ratio, 0.941; 95% CI, 0.865 to 1.024). The EL was a significant independent factor in the subgroup aged > 50 years according to multivariate analyses. The high EL group showed more favorable clinicopathologic features and a higher proportion of patients in this group received lumpectomy, radiation therapy, and endocrine therapy. In the high EL group, a higher proportion of patients received chemotherapy in the subgroups with unfavorable clinicopathologic features. The EL was a significant prognosticator across all molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Conclusion The EL is a strong independent prognostic factor for breast cancer in the subgroup aged > 50 years regardless of the molecular subtype, but not in the subgroup aged ≤ 50 years. Favorable clinicopathologic features and active treatments can explain the main causality of the superior prognosis in the high EL group.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article was supported by the Korean Breast Cancer Society (WA35-20160706-01).
© 2017 by the Korean Cancer Association.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research