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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Incidence, pattern and prognosis of brain metastases in patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jia Jin, Yu Gao, Jian Zhang, Leiping Wang, Biyun Wang, Jun Cao, Zhimin Shao, Zhonghua Wang



To identify the incidence, recurrence pattern and prognosis of brain metastases (BM) among women with metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC) treated consecutively at a single institution during a 7-year period.


Patients with histologically confirmed mTNBC were retrospectively identified. The incidence of BM as first site of recurrence and the cumulative BM incidence were computed. We used the Cox proportional hazards model to identify the univariate and multivariate factors associated with survival.


Four hundred thirty three patients were included with a median overall survival (OS) of 21.6 months after median follow-up for 48.1 months. BM was found in 29% (127/433) of the patients and about a quarter (32/127) of BM was first recurrence. The cumulative incidence of BM at 1 and 2 years was 17 and 25%, respectively. The median time from the diagnosis of extracranial metastases to BM was 10 months. Median OS following a diagnosis of BM was 7.3 months. The longer median OS from time of first recurrent BM was noted compared with those of subsequent recurrent (17.3 vs 6.3 months, p = 0.008). However, patients with first recurrent BM were associated with shorter OS compared with those without BM (17.3 vs 22.1 months, p = 0.006). The independent factors that increased BM death risk were > 3 brain lesions, no BM-directed treatment, subsequent recurrent BM, symptomatic BM and uncontrolled extracranial metastasis.


Patients with mTNBC have a high incidence of early BM with subsequent poor survival. The findings lend support to consideration of screening imaging of the brain for mTNBC patients.
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