(HealthDay News) — Compared with older women, those aged 35 or younger with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are more likely to achieve a pathological complete response (pCR) after treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, according to research presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 4 to 8.

Sibylle Loibl, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Frankfurt in Germany, and colleagues evaluated data from eight German studies involving 8,949 women with operable or locally advanced, non-metastatic breast cancer who were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The rates of pCR and disease-free survival (DFS) were compared for the 704 women aged 35 years and younger and older women.

The researchers found that more younger than older women had TNBC (26 versus 19 percent), but fewer had luminal A-type breast cancer (21 versus 27 percent). The rate of pCR was significantly higher in younger compared with older women (23.6 versus 15.7 percent), but the difference was limited to women with TNBC (45 versus 31 percent; odds ratio, 1.85). DFS did not vary according to age but was significantly worse in young women with luminal A-type cancer who did not achieve a pCR (hazard ratio, 1.35).

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“The most surprising finding was that young women with a luminal-type tumor — hormone receptor-positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative — who achieved a pathological complete response had a better survival rate than the patients with non-pathological complete response,” Loibl said in a statement. “This is not true for other age groups, which indicates that breast cancer in the young — even when a luminal-type breast cancer — is chemosensitive.”

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